Research in the laboratory of Hind J. Fadel, M.D., Ph.D., focuses on the basic biology of viral replication, host-pathogen interactions, gene targeting with engineered nucleases, and the application of these areas to clinical translation, such as HIV cure and cell-mediated immunotherapeutics for other infectious and noninfectious diseases in regenerative medicine.
A wide variety of techniques are employed in experimental systems to study these issues, including:
- Cell culture and molecular biology techniques
- Novel site-specific engineered nucleases: transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat-Cas (CRISPR-Cas) systems
- In vivo humanized mouse model
Dr. Fadel and her colleagues have also recently expanded their interests to other viral pathogens — influenza and emerging viruses such as Ebola and chikungunya.
- Studying the role of various cellular host factors in the HIV life cycle, leading to integration and identification of novel therapeutic targets
- Genome engineering of immune cells to create resistance to HIV infection and develop HIV cure strategies
- Development of cell-mediated immunotherapeutics for regenerative medicine
Significance to patient care
Dr. Fadel's hope is that her research will further the understanding of HIV pathobiology and other viral pathogens, help identify novel therapeutic targets, and advance HIV cure research.
HIV continues to be one of the most important global infectious causes of morbidity and mortality, with over 30 million people infected and ongoing transmission. While antiretroviral drugs have revolutionized treatment of HIV disease, they do not cure the patient. They have many other drawbacks, too, including drug toxicities, viral resistance, maintained adherence and poorly understood chronic systemic inflammation that persists even in drug-treated patients. For all of these reasons, a cure is highly sought.
Dr. Fadel also aims to develop better tools for genome engineering of human cells for gene therapy applications in regenerative medicine.