Infectious Disease Researcher Awarded NIH Grant to Study HIV Pathogenesis

1Himanshu Garg, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Department of Biomedical Sciences, was recently awarded a three-year National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award grant in the amount of $382,500 from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The title of the funded project isHost and Viral Factors in HIV Pathogenesis.” Dr. Garg, an HIV researcher with a long-standing interest in HIV pathogenesis, has been studying the role of HIV Envelope glycoprotein in mediating CD4+ T cell loss. “Having conducted studies in cell culture in vitro and in humanized mouse model of HIV infection in vivo, this project is a step forward in taking these studies to HIV infected patients.” said Dr. Garg.  The study aims to understand the differential pathogenesis of HIV in infected individuals with respect to the virus, as well as the host genetic make-up.

The project was initiated three years ago as a collaborative effort through the TTUHC El Paso Institutional Faculty mentoring Program. Dr. Garg’s mentor, Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., chair of the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Internal Medicine, played a key role in taking this study from bench to bedside to HIV infected patients.  Anjali Joshi, Ph.D., from the Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Zuber Mulla, Ph.D., from the Department of OB-GYN are other co-investigators on the grant.