Luis Agosto, PhD
BS, Pennsylvania State University 2005
PhD, University of Pennsylvania 2010
Long term untreated HIV infection eventually leads to the decay of immune responses, which in turn cause the onset of opportunistic infections characteristic of AIDS. Macrophages are among the first cells to encounter pathogens and play an important role in initiating effective immune responses. However, macrophages can themselves become infected by HIV. My research aims at understanding how opportunistic pathogens affect HIV infection of macrophages and in turn how the immune functions of macrophages is affected due to HIV. Furthermore, HIV establishes a reservoir of latently infected cells soon after infection of a new host. Even after the successful treatment of an infected individual for many years, this pool of latently infected cells reactivates to produce infectious HIV soon after interruption of treatment. Therefore, understanding the nature of the latent HIV reservoir is crucial for achieving an HIV cure. Another of my research goals is to understand how latently infected cells are generated and what factors influence the maintenance and reactivation of latently infected cells.