New R01 Awarded to DC CFAR Investigator, Mimi Ghosh, PhD, MS

Dr. Ghosh photo
August 02, 2017

DC CFAR investigator, Mimi Ghosh, PhD, MS, along with Jamila K. Stockman, PhD, MPH at the University of California San Diego, has recently been awarded an R01 from the National Institutes of Health entitled, "Sexual Trauma and HIV Susceptibility among Women: The Role Of Stress And Genital Immunity".

Extensive epidemiological data has documented an association between sexual violence and HIV acquisition through direct and indirect pathways. However, the underlying biological mechanisms to explain this association are poorly understood.  Preliminary data indicate stress associated with sexual violence may alter the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, resulting in changes to the innate and adaptive immune system in the female genital tract (FGT), with the potential to affect HIV susceptibility. Further, adolescent girls may be more vulnerable to stress compared to adult women.

This study builds upon data from Dr. Ghosh's DC CFAR pilot award, CFAR Supplement, and R56, and seeks to investigate the relationship between immunity in the FGT and the dysregulated HPA axis as a function of sexual violence, as well as potential differences between adolescent girls and adult women, with implications for hypothesis-driven longitudinal research and development of safe and efficacious biomedical prevention strategies.

Click here to read the full abstract.