HIV and HVC Genetic and Phenotypic Variability
The group focuses its research on understanding the molecular mechanisms implicated in human virus pathogenesis
In the last two decades, the group has been studying how the genetic variability of HIV-1 and HCV has influenced virus pathogenesis, immunogenicity, and response to ART. More recently the group has explored how synonymous codon mutations impact on HIV-1 protein expression and virus replication capacity. Codon or codon pair biases and HIV-1 RNA dinucleotide frequencies (e.g., CpG/UpA) affect host innate response, virus latency, and virus pathogenesis. In relation to liver disease progression in HIV-1 and/or HCV infected patients, the group is quantifying levels of plasma circulating miRNAs (predicted to regulate over half of the human transcriptome) as a potential biomarker for diagnosing and predicting different stages of liver disease (e.g., NAFLD and NASH), given the challenge posed by the lack of available biomarkers for clinicians. Lastly, the group has hypothesized that circulating miRNAs may be biomarkers of SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent COVID-19 manifestation and progression.