Director's Update: August 2020

UCSF-Gladstone CFAR Director’s Update

August 31, 2020

We write this UCSF-Gladstone CFAR’s Director’s Update in the midst of a wearying global pandemic. However, what I find most energizing is to be part of a community that is so fiercely applying itself to both studying and changing the world on COVID-19, as well as continuing its pivotal work on HIV. We will prevail through the anti-scientific movements that are rocking our times, I promise.

And what a privilege to be part of a community who is moving forth- undaunted- on basic science/translational, clinical, and sociobehavioral work on the pandemic much as they moved forth- unperturbed- to bend the curve so effectively on HIV over all of these years. Please enjoy this CFAR Director’s Update and look forward to continuing engagement with you during the year, including at Dr. Sharon Hillier’s seminar on Wednesday September 2nd! We also, along with everyone else, grow mourn the maiming or death of Black people by police brutality and will continue to work towards change.

Please read ahead to hear about new leadership opportunities in the UCSF-Gladstone CFAR for our Scientific Working Groups, new grants awarded to CFAR investigators, new staff at CFAR and events, new grant opportunities and a ongoing COVID-19 related research work.

I leave you with a quote from a prominent philosopher of science named Thomas Kuhn which I find inspirational for the day as our thinking on COVID-19 must necessarily evolve with this incredible amount of data emerging (often filtered through media reports, unfortunately). My thinking on COVID-19 has changed 180 degrees since March and I am so much more hopeful with recent data emerging on strong T-cell responses to the infection, even with mild/asymptomatic infection, including from our very own community (see Nadia Roan’s paper here), as we await a safe and effective vaccine being tested carefully by other members of our community including Susan Buchbinder and others. Like with HIV, UCSF is leading the way with COVID-19!

Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996), philosopher of science from The Structure of Scientific Revolution:
Successive stages in that developmental process are marked by an increase in articulation and specialisation. And the entire process might have occurred, as we now suppose biological evolution did, without benefit of a set goal, a permanent fixed scientific truth, of which each stage in the development of scientific knowledge is a better exemplar.
 
CFAR Community, I send you my endless gratitude in entrusting me to this exciting role of serving as your CFAR Director. And to my co-leaders - Peter Hunt, Mallory Johnson and Lauren Sterling- my persistent gratitude.

Sincerely,
Monica
 
 

UCSF CFAR Administration, Events and Cancellations

CFAR Administration
We would like to announce our newest administrative member of the CFAR, Joseph (Joe) Watabe, who will serve as the new CFAR Scientific Working Group and Evaluation Program Manager. Joe joins the other members of our outstanding administrative stuff including Lauren Sterling (Associate Director and Overall Manager); Francisco Fernandez, CFAR Finance Manager; Brenda Sanchez, CFAR Developmental Core Manager; and Cesar Cadabes, Events and Communications Manager.
 
Joseph Watabe has served as an administrator at various academic research institutions (JHU, Carver, UCSF) and health/IT startup companies. His current position is as a Project Policy Analyst for the Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine at UCSF. More recently, he has also served as a local program coordinator for the AIDS 2020 Conference held July 6-11, 2020 and works closely with Monica Gandhi on educational activities in our Division. Joseph is originally from Seattle and likes to visit occasionally during the non-rainy months of July-August. During this time, he likes to go bike riding and is rediscovering how to cook healthy meals. Joseph is excited to take on this new role for the CFAR in addition to his current duties at UCSF.
 
CFAR Events:
As announced earlier this week, we have a very exciting line-up of external speakers for the monthly UCSF CFAR Seminar Series, including Drs. Sharon Hillier (coming up this Wednesday!), Tonia Poteat, Ada Adimora, Bette Korber, Michael Mugavero, Raphael Landovitz, Anthony Fauci, Greg Millett, and Katherine Bar.
 
The seminars are virtual this year (usually first Wednesday of the month from 9-10am) and you can go to the website and add any of these events to your calendar with a single button.

Every other month, after the monthly CFAR seminar series from 9-10am, we will feature an affiliate of the CFAR from 10am-11am in a segment we have dubbed the “CFAR Science Spotlight”. This is such an exciting new feature of our CFAR and is open to the entire CFAR community, replacing the former CFAR Scientific Council. The first spotlight will be on the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies following Dr. Tonia Poteat’s seminar on October 7th.
 
The seminars are virtual this year (usually first Wednesday of the month from 9-10am) and you can go to the website and add any of these events to your calendar with a single button.

Every other month, after the monthly CFAR seminar series from 9-10am, we will feature an affiliate of the CFAR from 10am-11am in a segment we have dubbed the “CFAR Science Spotlight”. This is such an exciting new feature of our CFAR and is open to the entire CFAR community, replacing the former CFAR Scientific Council. The first spotlight will be on the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies following Dr. Tonia Poteat’s seminar on October 7th.
 
 

Call for Applicants: Leadership for CFAR’s Scientific Working Groups

Implementation Science Working Group
The UCSF-Gladstone CFAR is recruiting for leadership for our Implementation Science Working Group (ISWG). The purpose of the ISWG is to build a local community of practice in implementation science, promoting collaborations that result in successful applications for HIV research funding. In the spirit of mentorship and continuity, we are proposing a joint junior-senior leadership structure, where interested individuals will jointly direct the activities of the group. These individuals will be responsible for organizing the ISWG’s program, which involves twice-monthly meetings where working group members or outside experts can present works-in-progress, specific aims reviews for grant applications, didactic training sessions on IS methodologies, as well as other activities, such as an annual meeting, that they deem necessary to develop the community. The senior director should be an established expert in the field and would provide guidance and support on SWG activities, while the early-stage director should be actively involved in implementation science research and will be responsible for the direct oversight and organization of the SWG activities, in conjunction with CFAR staff (including newly-appointed Joe Watabe). Salary support of up to 2% is available for the senior director and up to 5% for the early-stage director.

If interested, applicants should submit their NIH Biosketch or CV as well as a cover letter addressing their interest in the position, their relevant research and mentoring experience, and discussing any other factors they think should be considered by the review committee. Applications are due COB Monday, October 12, 2020, and a decision will be made by mid-October. Please submit applications here: https://cfar.ucsf.edu/cfar-scientific-working-group-leadership-applications

Newly-established HIV/COVID-19 Scientific Working Group
The UCSF-Gladstone CFAR is recruiting leadership for our new HIV/COVID-19 Scientific Working Group (HCSWG). The purpose of the HCSWG is build a community of HIV researchers able to address the Syndemic of HIV and COVID-19, through the organization of a virtual community and web-based platform. In the spirit of mentorship and continuity, we are proposing a joint junior-senior leadership structure. The HCSWG leadership will jointly direct the activities of the group through an interactive, web-based, virtual platform and the organization of monthly seminars featuring presentations of ongoing research from both senior investigators and early career investigators, providing an opportunity for feedback on study design, analysis, and interpretation of results as well as input on grant submissions. The HCSWG will also promote inclusion of the HIV/AIDS population in all planned research activities related to COVID-19, thus bringing in investigators from outside the field and ensuring PWH are an integral part of the COVID-19 response. The senior director should be an established expert in and would provide guidance and support on SWG activities, while the early-stage director should also actively be involved in COVID-HIV research and will be responsible for the direct oversight and organization of the HCSWG activities, in conjunction with CFAR staff including newly-appointed SWG Program Manager, Joe Watabe. Salary support of up to 2% is available for the senior director and up to 5% for the early-stage director.

If interested, applicants should submit their NIH Biosketch or CV as well as a cover letter addressing their interest in the position, their relevant research and mentoring experience, and discussing any other factors they think should be considered by the review committee. Applications are due COB Monday, October 12, 2020, and a decision will be made by mid-October. Please submit applications here: https://cfar.ucsf.edu/cfar-scientific-working-group-leadership-applications


 

Grant Opportunities

 
From CFAR and ARI
We want to remind you that the UCSF RAP award deadline is coming up on September 21, 2020 and the ARI Strategic Support award deadline is coming up on September 18, 2020. Here is a reminder to the email we sent out earlier about this.

Also please do not forget about our BOOST AWARDS (joint sponsored by ARI and CFAR). Extremely simple low-barrier access application to get funding anywhere from $50-$5000 for your research needs!

From GloCal
UCGHI’s GloCal Health Fellowship provides aspiring global health researchers with outstanding interdisciplinary education and training in innovative research designed to improve health for populations around the world. The due date is November 2 and here is a reminder to the email we sent out earlier about this.

 

Recent HIV Grant Awards to CFAR Community

The grass does not grow under the feet of this group! We would like to announce some exciting recent NIH grant awards to members of the UCSF-Gladstone CFAR (please let Lauren Sterling know if we have missed some)

Diana Alba (Endocrinology and Metabolism): Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) called Probing the Cellular Determinants of Adipose Tissue Health vs Fibrosis in the Regulation of Human Insulin Sensitivity

Sean Arayakirijul: (SFDPH) R25MH119858 from the NIMH/NIH called SHINE STRONG: BUILDING THE PIPELINE OF HIV BEHAVIORAL SCIENTISTS WITH EXPERTISE IN TRANS POPULATION HEALTH

Eric Chow: (Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics). S10OD028511 called ILLUMINA NOVASEQ 6000 SEQUENCING SYSTEM

Phillip Coffin (SFDPH). U01DA051080 called MIRTAZAPINE FOR METHAMPHETAMINE USE DISORDER: DRUG-DRUG INTERACTION STUDY
and R01DA051850 called PRIME: PREP INTERVENTION FOR PEOPLE WHO INJECT METHAMPHETAMINE

Craig R. Cohen, Elizabeth Anne Bukusi, Louisa Ndunyu and Sheri Weiser. D43TW011306 called Sustainable Development for Improved HIV Health and Prevention in Kenya (SD4HKenya)’

Joel Ernst. R21AI152563 called HOST GENETIC DIVERSITY, MONONUCLEAR PHAGOCYTES, AND OUTCOMES OF TB

David Glidden (DEB): U54CA254571 called DATA MANAGEMENT AND BIOSTATISTICAL ANALYSIS CORE

Peter Hunt: (DEM) R01HL152957 from NHLBI/NIH called IMPACT of Treating Asymptomatic CMV Replication on Cardiovascular Risk in Treated HIV Infection

Mallory Johnson/ Adam Carrico. R01DA051848 called OPTIMIZING PREP ADHERENCE IN SEXUAL MINORITY MEN WHO USE STIMULANTS

Andrew Kambugu/ Jeff Martin/ Dave Glidden/ Miriam Nakalembre/ Aggrey Semeere. U54CA254571 called UNITED STATES-EAST AFRICA HIV-ASSOCIATED MALIGNANCY RESEARCH CENTER (USEAHAMRC) FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND THE PREVENTION, EARLY DETECTION AND EFFICIENT LINKAGE TO CARE FOR VIRUS-RELATED CANCERS

Tim Henrich: (DEM). R01AI152932 called IN VIVO PET IMAGING OF HIV INFECTION

Krysia Lindan: R25MH123256 called INTERNATIONAL TRAINEESHIPS IN AIDS PREVENTION STUDIES (ITAPS)

Sheri Lippman (CAPS): R21MH123389 called EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF ORGANIZATIONAL READINESS AND INNER SETTING ON IMPLEMENTATION OF HIV PROGRAMMING IN SOUTH AFRICAN HEALTH CLINIC

Carmen Masson. R21DA050038 called EXPANDING ACCESS TO BUPRENORPHINE TREATMENT AMONG HOMELESS PERSONS WITH OPIOID USE DISORDER

Erin Meek (SFDPH). R34MH124626 called BREAKING SYSTEMS BARRIERS FOR TRANS WOMEN OF COLOR LIVING WITH HIV

Payad Nahid (Pulmonary): R25AI147375 called TB RESEARCH AND MENTORSHIP PROGRAM (TB RAMP)

Elise Riley (Division of HIV, ID and Global Medicine): R01DA049648 called COCAINE USE, VIRAL SUPPRESSION AND PRECURSORS OF STROKE IN HIV INFECTION

Jae Sevelius (CAPS): UCSF Mid-career Development Award for grant called Bolstering the pipeline to achieve health equity: A UCSF program to support mid-career faculty and K24DA051328 called MENTORING CLINICAL INVESTIGATORS IN PATIENT-ORIENTED RESEARCH ON SUBSTANCE USE AND HIV

Cheryl Stoddart (DEM). R56AI147895 called INHIBITION OF HEAT SHOCK PROTEIN 90 FOR SUSTAINED REMISSION OF HIV FROM PERSISTENT TISSUE RESERVOIRS



COVID-19 related grants and COVID-19/HIV related research

New COVID-19 grants

Susan Buchbinder and Diane Havlir received a $600,000 supplement from the NIH for SAN FRANCISCO BAY CLINICAL TRIAL UNIT: EXPANDING COVID-19 TESTING IN HEAVILY IMPACTED COMMUNITIES IN SAN FRANCISCO.

This project plans to increase COVID-19 testing in San Francisco through 2 mechanisms: 1) using a mobile van to reach into facilities and neighborhoods whereoutbreaks are occurring and 2) conducting a community mobilization testing event in a neighborhood particularly hard hit by COVID-19. These efforts will also help the Clinical Research Sites of the San Francisco Bay Clinical Trials Unit to be ready to conduct COVID-19 vaccine and treatment trials.

Matthew Spinelli and Monica Gandhi received a $2 million dollar grant under the emergency SARS-CoV-2 mechanisms from the NIH (R01AI158013) called EVALUATION OF THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN HIV AND COVID-19 IN A LARGE URBAN SAFETY-NET HIV CLINIC. This proposal will answer questions concerning the interplay between COVID-19 and HIV in a large safety-net clinic for publicly-insured patients with HIV in San Francisco. Aim 1 will examine whether SARS-CoV-2 infection risk, prevalence and clinical outcomes vary by HIV status and/or antiretroviral regimen (i.e. tenofovir). Aim 2 will explore whether HIV infection will impair humoral or T-cell responses to COVID-19. Aim 3 data will evaluate the impact of disruption of healthcare and social support systems on PWH, including viral suppression; retention in care; hospitalizations, co-morbidity outcomes, and death, and socio-behavioral outcomes during and after social distancing.

Paper on COVID-19 impacting HIV care adversely
Spinelli, MA; Hickey, MD; Glidden, DV; Nguyen, JQ; Oskarsson JJ; Havlir D; Gandhi M. Viral suppression rates in a safety-net HIV clinic in San Francisco destabilized during COVID-19. AIDS. 2020 (in press)
Summary: There is great concern that the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder the United States End the HIV Epidemic goals including viral suppression and retention-in-care. To understand the initial impact of the transition to telemedicine in the face of shelter-in-place, and the COVID-19 epidemic, on HIV outcomes, viral load and retention-in-care data were collected before and during shelter-in-place (Jan-Feb 2020 vs. April 2020). Although retention-in-care remained stable after shelter-in-place, the odds of viral non-suppression were 31% higher (Adjusted Odds Ratio 1.31; 95% Confidence Interval 1.08-1.53). Telemedicine may facilitate retention-in-care in the context of shelter-in-place, but transition to telemedicine alone may not be sufficient to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ultimate goal of the HIV treatment cascade, HIV virologic suppression.

 

Groups with open membership to the CFAR community

Single-Cell Sequencing Interest Group:
Monthly meetings with opportunities to learn about the single-cell sequencing research happening at UCSF and beyond. Monthly talks have covered a variety of topics ranging from single-cell sequencing technologies / analytical approaches to scientific research presentations that have used these technologies. We welcome attendance by researchers with no prior experience in single-cell sequencing approaches who are interested in learning more about the technology. Meetings are held at noon the third Thursday of each month. If you would like to be put on the listserv announcing the monthly meetings, or if you would like to present at an upcoming meeting, please contact Sulggi Lee ([email protected]) or Nadia Roan ([email protected]).

SCOPTIONS group
SCOPTIONS meetings are an opportunity for junior investigators doing basic/translational HIV research (mostly using samples from HIV-infected individuals enrolled in the SCOPE/Options cohorts) to present their work and get feedback from a diverse audience of HIV investigators across UCSF. Feel free to bring early data, grant Aims, ideas for collaborations, etc! Presentation time, including discussion, runs usually ~50min (aim for 20-25 slides). Meetings are typically held on second and fourth Wednesdays at noon. For more information or to be put on the list, contact Rachel Rutishauser, [email protected]