Scientific Programs

Program in Health Economics and Modeling

Directors: Andrea Ciaranello, MD, MPH; Kenneth Freedberg, MD, MScThe previous HU CFAR Program in Epidemiology and Outcomes Research played a key role in convening HU CFAR scientists to conduct cost effectiveness analysis of HIV related resources, define health policy, and initiated Research-in-Progress and mentoring initiatives for the HU CFAR. The Program in Health Economics and Modeling, reflects the growing focus of its members.

The goals of the program are
1) to support and facilitate the expansion of simulation modeling and cost-effectiveness analysis within the HU CFAR, as well as with other CFARs
2) mentor and develop Early Career Investigators in health economics and modeling

3) participate in Research-in-Progress meetings, as well as serve as mentors and collaborators to conduct cost-effectiveness analyses.

Efforts are leveraged by existing collaborations through clinical trials groups (ACTG, HPTN, IMPAACT, ATN) as well as observational research groups (IeDEA, PHACS, NA-ACCORD). Drs. Andrea Ciaranello and Ken Freedberg guide monthly meetings. Dr. Ciaranello is Director of Perinatal Infectious Diseases at MGH, Associate Professor of Medicine at HMS, and co-chair of the DHHS Panel on Treatment of Pregnant Women with HIV Infection and Prevention of Perinatal Transmission. She has an R01 evaluating cost-effectiveness of pediatric HIV care and conducts model-based cost-effectiveness analyses of strategies to care for children, adolescents, and women living with or at risk for HIV. Her work has directly informed US, WHO, and country-level guidelines related to pediatric HIV and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.  Dr. Freedberg is Director of the Medical Practice Evaluation Center at MGH and Professor of Medicine at HMS. He is founding director of the Cost-effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (“CEPAC”) program, which collaborates with investigators in 11 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. His R01 on the cost-effectiveness analysis of HIV care in the US received NIH R37 MERIT funding from 2005-2015, and his CEPAC-International R01 was just awarded R37 MERIT status.

 

Program in HIV Vaccines

Directors: Dan Barouch, MD, PhD; Galit Alter, PhD

The CFAR Program in HIV Vaccines provides a forum for interaction around basic, preclinical, and clinical research in HIV vaccines across Harvard and affiliated hospitals and institutions.

Two major goals of the Program are:
1) to engage and develop Early Career Investigators with an interest in HIV vaccine research, and
2) to maintain a forum for CFAR investigators to strategically promote integrated and efficient collaboration on preventive and therapeutic HIV vaccine related research.

An efficacy trial of a vaccine developed by HU CFAR researchers is underway, promoting additional collaborations within the CFAR, and the Program also sponsors a Vaccine Symposium through funds provided by BIDMC. The Program helped to nucleate efforts in response to the RFA entitled “Immune Mechanisms of Protection Against Mycobacterium tuberculosis Center (IMPAc-TB)”, led by one of the previous Directors of the Developmental Core, Dr. Sarah Fortune.  In part through support of Developmental Awards, a robust pipeline of young clinician-scientists is being developed who are committed to the clinical evaluation and translational development of vaccine concepts. A major new effort in the therapeutic use of monoclonal antibodies has also been launched and is supporting the careers of Early Career Investigators. Working together with the Advanced Lab Technologies Core, the Program is developing new approaches to monitor vaccine responses that have application beyond HIV.  Dr. Dan Barouch, Professor of Medicine at HMS and BIDMC, serves as Co-Director of the Program in HIV Vaccines. Dr. Galit Alter, Professor of Medicine at HMS and MGH, also serves as Co-Director.

 

Program in HIV Eradication

Directors: Mathias Lichterfeld, MD, PhD; Raj Gandhi, MD; Daniel R. Kuritzkes, MD

The Program in HIV Eradication develops innovative multidisciplinary projects aimed at addressing basic science and translational questions regarding HIV-1 eradication and cure research. Through monthly meetings, and in collaboration with the ALTC, the Program has been highly productive, including development of methods to identify the size and localization of cellular reservoirs responsible for long-term viral persistence on ART; studies to define and characterize immune mechanisms that reduce viral persistence despite ART that may facilitate a long-term drug-free HIV remission; small investigator-initiated animal and human interventional trials that aim at reducing HIV-1 persistence and eradicating HIV-1 infection; novel next-generation sequencing technologies for quantification and characterization of the viral reservoir; and support of cohort studies to assess HIV persistence (HEAL cohort) and post-treatment control (CHAMP cohort). The Program works closely with the Program in HIV Vaccines, planning immunotherapeutic interventions with vaccines and broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies. A major goal is to recruit new investigators from the HU community to engage in HIV cure research, and to foster new collaborations across disciplines and across Harvard-affiliated institutions. In addition to many manuscripts, success of the Program to date is evidenced by the awarding of numerous R21, R01, U01 and UM1 grants focused on HIV cure to HU CFAR investigators during the current funding cycle, including a Martin Delaney Collaboratory. Rajesh Gandhi, MD (MGH) is a Co-Director of the Program in HIV Eradication. He is also the chair of the ACTG HIV-1 Reservoirs and Eradication (Cure) Transformative Science Group (TSG). Mathias Lichterfeld, MD, PhD (BWH and Ragon) serves as a Co-Director of the Program. Daniel Kuritzkes, MD also serves as a Co-Director of the Program in HIV Eradication, and is the immediate Past Chair of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, and a Principal Investigator of the Harvard/Boston/Providence Clinical Trials Unit.