Georgetown is One of Six Institutions in New DC Center for AIDS Research

Posted in GUMC Stories

APRIL 27, 2015 — An interdisciplinary, city-wide consortium of institutions, including Georgetown University Medical Center, has received a significant National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to establish the District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (new window) (DC CFAR).

The consortium, led by George Washington University, also includes Howard University, American University, the Children’s National Medical Center and the Washington DC VA Medical Center. The five-year NIH grant totals approximately $7.5 million.

The mission of the DC CFAR is to expand the multi-institutional effort to support research that contributes to ending the HIV epidemic in Washington, DC, and beyond in partnership with government and community.

“Exceptional Consortium”

“With this award from the National Institutes of Health, the District of Columbia and the DC Center for AIDS Research arrive as a premier destination for HIV research in the country,” said Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who also congratulated the “exceptional consortium of academic institutions and researchers” in Washington. “This opportunity will attract and support scientists for new and exciting research breakthroughs to end the HIV epidemic,” she said.

“This city-wide collaboration began with the creation of the DC HIV/AIDS Institute in 2005 and continued with initial funding from the NIH in 2010 to establish the DC Developmental CFAR,” says DC-CFAR Director Alan E. Greenberg, MD, MPH, of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

The DC Developmental CFAR was established to develop a strong research infrastructure and collaborative network of HIV investigators with the goal of becoming a full CFAR.

Georgetown Leadership

The DC CFAR will provide HIV investigators with significant pilot award funding opportunities and mentorship through its Developmental Core, and with expanded services through the Basic Sciences, Clinical and Population Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences Cores.

Georgetown’s Princy Kumar, MD, directs the clinical and population sciences core, which provides clinical, epidemiologic and biostatistical services; recruitment and retention consultation and support; and access to biological samples and clinical databases from new and existing studies and networks. Kumar is professor of medicine and microbiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine and chief of infectious diseases at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

One of the most established programs affiliated with the consortium is the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (new window) (WIHS), based at Georgetown. Led by Mary Young, MD, assistant professor of medicine, WIHS is an ongoing observational study that began in 1993, with goals to understand and describe the progression of both treated and untreated HIV infections among women.

Pilot Funding

Two new scientific working groups will be created to promote and support scientific research in the District on HIV cure research and HIV prevention research in high-risk populations.

An example of such funding for high-risk populations is the recent grant awarded to Jennifer Z. Huang Bouey, PhD, MPH, MBBS (new window), the Susan H. Mayer Professor in Health Equity at the School of Nursing & Health Studies. She received a $50,000 grant for a one-year pilot study to develop best practices for surveying HIV risk factors and collecting immunity biomarkers from local and visiting high-risk women in Washington.

Prior to this funding round, there were 17 CFARs and two Developmental CFARs including the DC Developmental CFAR. The NIH CFAR (new window) program emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary and translational collaborations between basic, clinical, prevention and behavioral investigators, with an emphasis on the inclusion of women and minority investigators. The CFAR program is jointly funded by the NIAID, NCI, NICHD, NHLBI, NIDA, NIMH, NIA, NIDDK, NIGMS, FIC and OAR.

By Karen Teber
GUMC Communications
(Special thanks to GWU for providing significant text for this story).