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Researcher wins prestigious Young Researcher Award

Burnet Institute

04 July, 2013

Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Professor Jean-François Delfraissy presented Dr Gray with the award.

Outstanding Burnet researcher, Dr Lachlan Gray has received a prestigious Young Investigator Award at the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Gray who works in the Churchill Laboratory, was recognised with the IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award for his presentation at the conference, ‘HIV-1 entry and trans-infection in astrocytes: implications for cure and eradication’.

“Our work focuses on a key cell type in the brain called astrocytes. Astrocytes act as the housekeepers in the brain and ensure that the cellular environment is maintained in a stable, healthy state to allow all the other resident brain cells to function normally,” Dr Gray explained.

“We have identified a compartment within astrocytes which may be involved in both entry of the virus and play a role in spread of HIV to neighbouring cells.”

Dr Gray said these findings have important implications for HIV cure and eradication studies because understanding how these cells become infected, and their role in viral spread, will enable researchers to design interventions to block these processes and potentially design novel antiviral compounds.

The woman behind the discovery of HIV, Nobel Laureate Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Director of the Agence Nationale de Recherche, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy presented Dr Gray with the award.

“Receiving this award is a great honour and privilege, especially considering it’s awarded at the world’s second largest HIV conference, and by two highly distinguished researchers within the field,” he said.

“It represents great global recognition for the innovative and important work we undertake in the Churchill Lab.”

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