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overview Our research focuses on the investigation of immune responses against HIV at mucosal surfaces. The vast majority of HIV is transmitted following exposure to virus at a mucosal site. Mucosal tissues, particularly gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), also represents the main compartment of viral replication and the largest reservoir of latently infected cells. Despite this, HIV pathogenesis has primarily been studied in the most accessible compartment- the peripheral blood. However, only 2-3% of all lymphocytes reside in the blood- a small minority relative to the 70-90% of the body’s T and B cells that reside within mucosal tissues. One of the bottlenecks to obtaining a deeper understanding of immune responses against HIV at mucosal sites is the inherently small amount of material that can be obtained from mucosal sampling. We are therefore utilizing new cutting-edge technologies to simultaneously capture multiple measures of HIV-specific immune responses using small numbers of cells. Using these methodologies we have begun to map mucosal immune responses in the GALT and female reproductive tract at a level of resolution that has not been previously possible with existing technologies. We have also characterized how the microbiome at these mucosal surfaces impacts HIV acquisition and disease progression. See more details at: kwonlab.org
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  • Gut
  • Permeability
Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.