Investigating Retrovirus-Host Interactions

The primary research focus of the Sharma laboratory is to study how pathogens like retroviruses regulate multiple steps of their replication cycle by interfacing with host cell biology. Ongoing research in our lab is characterizing the retrovirus-host interactions in the non-human primate models of HIV-1 infection. In particular, we study the replication of chimeric HIV/SIV viruses (SHIVs) in the macaque model of HIV-1 infection.

Projects in the Sharma lab are focused on answering the following questions:

  1. What are the viral and host factors that drive selection, adaptation, and pathogenicity of SHIVs in macaque cells?
  2. What is the molecular and mechanistic basis of adaptation of SHIVs to the macaque immune responses?
  3. Can the molecular mechanisms of SHIV replication in macaque cells be exploited to rationally engineer SHIVs for HIV-1 vaccine and prevention research?
  4. Can the genetic repertoire of non-human primate species be explored to identify novel innate immune factors that limit the cross-species transmission of lentiviruses?