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Burnet Institute HIV researcher and Laboratory Head, Dr Clovis Palmer has been selected to present at a special session of the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (AIS 2017) for ‘Emerging International Leaders in Global HIV/AIDS Research’.
Dr Palmer was chosen as one of 10 early-stage investigators from around the globe whose work is cutting edge, and changing the HIV research landscape.
The opportunity was made available to former winners of CNIHR (Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research) grants, an initiative of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and IAS to generate new ideas in HIV research.
Dr Palmer’s presentation will address the way HIV disrupts metabolic activity in immune cells, and its impact on the development of age-associated co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, bone disease and frailty.
“What we’ve found is that HIV changes immune cells into cancer-like cells, and so they are unable to effectively utilise energy, glucose, and carry out their function,” Dr Palmer said.
“They are exhausted, because they are unable to utilise nutrients properly. That’s a similar mechanism to the way cancer cells operate, by changing metabolic activity in order to wreak havoc on the host cells.”
The presentation will also address HIV reservoirs – cells harbouring the virus that may remain in the body for decades – and ways to starve them as a potential strategy to eradicate HIV from the body.
Dr Palmer said he was excited and honoured to present at IAS 2017, which runs from 23-26 July at the Palais des Congrès in Paris.
“I think these avenues of research took a while to take off because they’re new and anything new in science, there’s always some trepidation,” Dr Palmer said.
“But now a lot of people are approaching us for collaborations and sharing techniques, because we’ve developed a lot of methodologies and techniques to evaluate metabolic activity in immune cells.
“This also provides opportunities to share our protocols and methodologies with other labs around the world.”