Current HIV/AIDS-Related Research Activities
My current research related to HIV/AIDS-related research focuses on the role of DNA repair and oxidative damage pathways in the olfactory system in animal models or human subjects. I study the moderating effects of different stress factors on cellular and mitochondrial dysfunctions in the brain, especially in olfactory circuits and olfactory cultures obtained non-invasively from nasal epithelium from mice and human subjects. Evidence of behavioral changes as well as changes in neural connectivity, the level of the oxidative stress, DNA damage, and DNA repair capacity in brain olfactory circuits and in olfactory neuronal cultures between controls and HIV-1 transgenic (Tg26) mice could lead to the development of a standard animal model for pediatric HIV and disease assessment. Screening for markers such as ROS, nuclear and mitochondrial DNA damage and DNA repair markers in combination with olfactory assessment could be a powerful tool for investigating the effects of HIV on the developing brain.
My work is by nature interdisciplinary and utilizes the most recent advances in neuroscience to understand the molecular and neural basis of oxidative stress in the brain during health and diseases. Data-gathering and analysis would provide ample opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to learn and contribute. The extension of my current work has real-world applications as a potential early identifier of neurological changes in the brain exposed to HIV, which may lead to improved interventions. By pairing the knowledge and tools I have gained from this work with my desire to utilize novel scientific approaches and expand my research interests, I look forward to continuing my pursuits in the field of neuroscience of HIV/AIDS.
Current HIV/AIDS-Related Service Activities
I am a member of the DC CFAR Collaborative Seminars organized by Dr. Mark Burke at Howard University.
Member of the Ph.D. Thesis Committee for Ms. Norah Algarzae entitled "Beyond the Hippocampus: Novel Cognitive Effects of Pediatric HIV- infection.