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 Nesting aids make agricultural fields attractive for bees
20.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht The Kitchen Sponge – Breeding Ground for Germs
20.07.2017 | Hochschule Furtwangen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>