Henrich Lab focuses on various infectious diseases, with special emphasis on human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) and the characterization of latent HIV-1 reservoirs.
Headed by Dr. Timothy Henrich, our lab functions as a part of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and is located at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. Operating under the UCSF Department of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine, Dr. Henrich is Principal Investigator whose research focuses on various infectious diseases, with special emphasis on human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) and the characterization of latent HIV-1 reservoirs. In general, our lab’s goal is to advance curative research through translational science.
Some of our recent studies are as follows:
HIV-1 Marker Studies
Since HIV-1 infection persists in an individual if even a single cell contains replication-competent virus, a major challenge to finding a cure lies in the ability to not only identify infected cells, but also in the ability to selectively target these cells. With heavy emphasis on the possibility of CD30 being a marker of transcriptionally active HIV-1 infected cells in the setting of ART, we have published and are currently conducting follow-up studies with the hypothesis that treatments targeting CD30-enriched cells effectively reduce proviral DNA levels in PBMCs obtained from infected individuals. This set of projects describes the enrichment of HIV-1 RNA in CD30+ CD4+ T-cells in infected individuals on ART, while also showing that treatment with brentuximab vedotin, an antibody-drug conjugate targeting CD30, can significantly reduce the HIV-1 DNA burden.
Stem Cell Transplantation Studies
Allogeneic hematopoietic-cell-transplantation (HCT) is one of few interventions that substantially decreases the HIV-1 burden of established viral reservoirs in infected individuals. Our lab has analyzed the NK cell phenotypes and responses in three HIV-positive HCT recipients in order to better characterize the effect of HCT on HIV-1 infection, viral reactivation, and lymphocyte activity.
Assay Development Studies
HIV-1 infection is known to persist at low or undetectable levels despite treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) because the current regimen cannot eradicate latent HIV-1 reservoirs. Since a single, replication-competent infected cell may lead to complete rebound of infection, there an urgent scientific need to characterize the effect of individual, latently-infected cells on the viral reservoir as a whole. One of the several assay development studies that our lab conducts is focused on developing a means of identifying if HIV-1 latency reversing agents increased viral transcription levels in transcriptionally-active (HIV-1 RNA producing) and in latent cells. This particular assay – single-cell-in-droplet PCR (scdPCR) – utilizes microfluidics to encapsulate single cells in droplets, in which the cells lysed and undergo PCR to amplify viral RNA. This assay provides a reliable, reproducible way to quantify and characterize HIV-1 latent reservoir reactivation frequencies. Additionally, the amplified PCR product from the individual droplets can be used for further testing and characterization of the genomic host DNA and mRNA.
For more information about our recent and past studies, please refer to the following link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=henrich+tj
If you are interested in collaborating with our lab on a project, please email Tim at [email protected].