Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City) (08.31.07) - Monday,
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a University of
Utah scientist a five-year, $19.2 million grant to establish a
research center to analyze how HIV hijacks host cell features
in order to replicate. The Utah center's NIH grant is one of
three from the institutes; the others went to the University
of California-San Francisco and the University of Pittsburgh.
Biochemist Wesley I. Sundquist is the lead investigator of the
Utah center, which will include five University of Utah
colleagues and six researchers from four other institutions:
the California Institute of Technology, the Scripps Research
Institute, Northwest University, and the University of
In Utah, Sundquist's Structural Biology Center for HIV/Host
Interactions in Trafficking and Assembly will receive $3.8
million in its first year. Center researchers will focus on,
among other issues, how HIV uses cellular pathways to transit
in and out of the cell and replicate.
Collaborating scientists will have "a fair amount of latitude
in their research. Our type of work is not top-down,"
Sundquist said. Twice a year, the 12 senior researchers will
meet to discuss their progress, their research agendas and how
their work could interact. Data will also be shared via other
meetings and Web-based presentations.
"HIV is extremely adept at evolving resistance against
therapeutics that target individual HIV proteins," said Ravi
Basavappa, an NIH program director. "The research proposed by
Dr. Sundquist and his colleagues to understand in detail how
the virus interacts with components of the cell could provide
a framework for developing entirely new classes of