FY2019 CFAR Administrative Supplements in HIV/AIDS

An automated liquid handling platform and an ultra performance liquid chromatography

Headshot of Francesca Aweeka, PharmD
Award date
Award cycle
Award amount - Direct


The UCSF-Gladstone CFAR Pharmacology Core must maintain state-of-the-art analytical equipment to expand its analytical armamentarium and remain at the forefront of pharmacology research of HIV and related diseases. The Core has provided services to the UCSF scientific community and to scientists nationally and internationally for >30 years and has longstanding pre-clinical and clinical expertise in HIV, malaria and tuberculosis research. The Core currently relies on manual pipetting, and additionally, a current high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with ultraviolet/visible spectrophotometer (UV) is nearing retirement. Innovative projects proposed by our collaborators have been delayed or declined due to limited equipment capabilities and heavy workload. Moreover, analytical development has been impeded and delayed due to limited sensitivity of the current system when pg/mL levels or very small sample volume analysis is required. The Core requests administrative supplement support for an automated liquid handling platform for sample preparation and an ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) system for drug quantitation. The UPLC system, representing the state-of-the-art in liquid chromatography, is five-fold more sensitive and 10- to 20-fold faster than the HPLC system. We request $150,000 of CFAR administrative supplement support to contribute to the purchase of the automated liquid handling platform and the UPLC system. The new system will be available to numerous investigators and projects to support a broad array of pharmacology research. The high throughput of the systems enhances efficiency of the Core and facilitates shared use of the instrument with increasing number of collaborators/users. Research includes, but is not limited to, quantitating HIV drugs in tissues and target cells (Aweeka, Rosenthal, Deeks, Henrich), quantitating endogenous compounds that are linked to HIV associated inflammation (Hunt and Deeks) and quantitating antiretroviral drugs in dried blood spots (Jain, Havlir). All of these investigators rely on the Core for access to the necessary instrumentation and methodologies for their work.