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Ph.D. Student Biological Sciences Advisor: Li Morrison Center 102B

Research Interests

Gut Microbiota Metagenomic Analysis in SIV Infected Rhesus Macaques

Millions of people globally are infected each year with human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1). Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 30 million people have died from HIV/AIDS related causes. Given that there is still no available vaccine, research into understanding the transmission and pathogenesis of this disease is crucial in finding alternative treatments. Microbial dysbiosis has been linked to systemic immune activation and accelerated disease progression from acute HIV infection to the end stage disease AIDS. Using simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) as a model for HIV transmission and pathogenesis; a study was conducted to determine the changes in the composition of gut microbiota composition through cross-sectional samples of infected individuals. 112 Rhesus Macaque fecal samples were collected from the Jejunum and Rectum. 16S rRNA Illumina Mi-Seq paired-end sequencing was performed on the samples and the resulting data was analyzed. The study shows that differences in the composition of microbiota at multiple points of SIV infection can be identified by 16S sequencing and data analysis. A longitudinal study is underway to characterize how SIV changes the gut microbiota at different time-points during infection. Further study could lead to new insights into the relationships of the microbial community, SIV infection, and the corresponding immune responses. The data obtained could be beneficial in providing alternative treatments options and a better understanding of HIV/SIV transmission and pathogenesis.

  • Genetics, Cell & Molecular Biology (GCMB)
  • Dr. Qingsheng Li