Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Urmila Vudali L&S Biological Sciences

Characterizing a Marker of Latent HIV-infected Cells using CRISPR/Cas9

With over 39 million people living with HIV, it is one of the world’s foremost health challenges. While Antiretroviral Therapy has reduced HIV-related mortalities by suppressing viral replication, it fails to eradicate the virus, leaving a latent viral reservoir.

Thus, identifying a marker of latently infected cells is the focus of many researchers. CD30, a transmembrane protein, is primarily found in tumor cells, such as Hodgkin and other lymphomas. It is found on a small percentage of healthy lymphocytes. However, the Henrich Lab has found enhanced CD30 in HIV infected CD4+ T cells. I aim to further characterize the relationship between CD30 expression and HIV infection to establish the viability of CD30 as a reliable target for HIV therapies.

I hypothesize that HIV upregulates CD30 to boost infected cell survival and evade immune-mediated clearance. By using CRISPR/Cas to disable the CD30 gene in human cells and infecting them, I hope to assess the impact on HIV’s ability to infect the cells. Secondly, I propose to knock out CD30 in infected cells, and observe their proliferation over time to determine if CD30 diminishes HIV infected cell survival.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to express by deep gratitude to my donors and the SURF L&S program for their support in enabling me to pursue this research. I am excited for this opportunity to grow my skills as a scientist and further my academic endeavors alongside an exceptional team at UCSF. Because of your contributions, I will be able to make a contribution to this movement towards an HIV cure.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Timothy Henrich
Sponsor: Shin Morgan Fund
Back to Listings
Back to Donor Reports