My research centers around the HIV-1 protein Nef. Our research has shown that Nef protein is secreted by HIV-1 infected cells and is present in the plasma of infected individuals. Our studies suggest that Nef is secreted from cells in the form of exosomes, small membrane bound vesicles approximately 50-100nm in size. T cells that come in contact with Nef exosomes undego apoptosis. Macrophage can take up Nef exosomes, but their affect on these cells is largely unknown. Nef exosomes appear to play a significant role in the pathogenic effects of HIV-1 infection leading to AIDS. Most recently we have worked with Bruce Shiramizu at the U of Hawaii to investigate the potential of Nef exosomes to facilitate the pathogenesis of HIV Associated Neurologic Disorders (HAND).
We have also been working with a traditional medicine group called ProMetra. Extracts of natural plants are used to treat HIV/AIDS patients. We have shown that these natural products have the ability to block entry of HIV into T cells. We are interested testing these herbal treatments in a clinical trial. We have recently worked with USAMRIID to also investigate the potential of these herbal treatments to inhibit Ebola virus.
In another collaboration we are working with Carol Carter at SUNY Stonybrook to investigate host proteins involved in trafficking of Gag protein in HIV-1. Our most recent work has been investigating the host protein "Sprouty" in viral traffiicking,
I am also the director of our local Proteomics facility we perform LC/MS protein identification and Luminex multiplex protein anaysis.. I would be happy to discuss potential projects with anyone looking for a collaborator.