Federal grant establishes HIV research center at University of Michigan

Oct 9, 2012

A new $21 million grant will establish a Center for HIV RNA Studies at the University of Michigan.

The National Institutes of Health grant will be distributed over a five-year period and is intended to help researchers better understand the virus on a molecular level.

From the University of Michigan:

Alice Telesnitsky, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology at the U-M Medical School, will head the CRNA and says the grant brings together researchers in a variety of disciplines to tackle the sometimes tricky HIV-1 RNA molecule, which plays an essential role in a virus’ ability to reproduce itself.

“Viruses are made up of proteins and RNA, and most research focuses on the proteins,” she says. “Because RNA is a simple molecule, it can sometimes appear nondescript when we look at it. This grant will unite a team of people who will look at RNA on different scales, assessing its structure, movement and replication.”

Telesnitsky says a better understanding of RNA’s biological processes could ultimately lead to innovative treatments for AIDS and other human diseases.

The center will provide a multidisciplinary approach to HIV research, employing a team of researchers from 13 institutions across the country.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom