NIDA Announces 2009 Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative HIV/AIDS Research

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has chosen four researchers to receive its 2009 Avant-Garde Awards for HIV/AIDS research on prevention and treatment among illicit-drug users.

Each award winner will receive $500,000 annual grants over five years. This year’s recipients included researchers investigating interactions between HIV-infected and uninfected cells during intravenous transmission; developing new strategies to restore the immune system of HIV-infected individuals; developing new technology to block HIV transcription; and identifying and eliminating latent HIV infection.  

“By supporting bold investigators with unexplored ideas, we hope we can find new approaches to eradicating the terrible public health toll of HIV/AIDS,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins.

The winners were chosen from 39 applications submitted by researchers. Awardees were Benjamin K. Chen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York,; Dana H. Gabuzda, M.D., a professor of neurology (microbiology) at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston; Jonathan Karn, Ph.D., a professor and chairman of molecular biology and microbiology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland; and Rafick-Pierre Sekaly, Ph.D., scientific director and co-director of the Oregon Health and Science University Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute in Portland.

More details are available on the NIDA Avant-Garde website.

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