Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UVic biomedical engineer 'outsmarts' HIV

13.12.2010
It is estimated that 38 million people worldwide are currently infected with HIV and that 4.1 million more are added each year. For scientists to design treatment therapies that are effective over the long-term it is essential to learn more about how the virus mutates and develops resistance to medications.

New, groundbreaking research by University of Victoria biomedical engineer Stephanie Willerth has significantly advanced the understanding of HIV and how to treat it.

“The virus mutates at a very high rate which is very problematic for HIV patients because the virus eventually develops resistance to medications,’’ explains Willerth, a faculty member with UVic’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Division of Medical Sciences.

Willerth and her team studied approximately 15,000 different versions of the virus—something that has never been done before. This information has allowed them to locate the specific genes of the virus that were resistant to the drugs—knowledge that could ultimately help researchers develop more effective treatments for HIV.

Willerth says that the methods she used can be applied to other difficult-to-treat viruses such as swine flu, Ebola, influenza or even staph infections.

“To study all of these different versions we have to replicate them millions of times, especially when it comes to complex viruses like HIV,” explains Willerth. “Because this research method requires a large amount of genetic material and there are obvious risks of duplicating highly contagious viruses, scientists have avoided doing this. Our research was unique because of the method we used—we isolated the genetic material from HIV, so that it was no longer alive, before we replicated it.”

After replicating the virus from a small sample obtained from a long-term HIV patient who had developed drug resistance to their treatment, Willerth and her team studied its genetic make-up using “next generation” DNA sequencing—a new method that allows researchers to study millions of molecules at a time.

Willerth conducted this post-doctorate research at the University of California Berkeley Lab. Her research findings are available at http://bit.ly/hD7KuO

Media contacts:

Stephanie Willerth (Mechanical Engineering) at willerth@uvic.ca or 250-721-7303
Suzanne Smith (UVic Communications) at comstaff@uvic.ca or 250-721-6139
Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/uvicnews

Valerie Shore | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uvic.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Polymers Based on Boron?
18.01.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production
18.01.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel chip-based gene expression tool analyzes RNA quickly and accurately

18.01.2018 | Medical Engineering

Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust

18.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>