Robert Siliciano Laboratory
Research in the Robert Siliciano Laboratory focuses on HIV and antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART consists of combinations of three drugs that inhibit specific steps in the virus life cycle. Though linked to reduced morbidity and mortality rates, ART is not curative. Through our research related to latently infected cells, we've shown that eradicating HIV-1 infection with ART alone is impossible due to the latent reservoir for HIV-1 in resting CD4+ T cells. Our laboratory characterized the different forms of HIV-1 that persist in patients on ART. Currently, we are searching for and evaluating drugs that target the latent reservoir. We are also developing assays that can be used to monitor the elimination of this reservoir. We are also interested in the basic pharmacodynamic principles that explain how antiretroviral drugs work. We have recently discovered why certain classes of antiretroviral drugs are so effective at inhibiting viral replication. We are using this discovery along with experimental and computational approaches to develop improved therapies for HIV-1 infection and to understand and prevent drug resistance. Finally, we are studying the immunology of HIV-1 infection, and in particular, the ability of some patients to control the infection without ART.