At Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Programs in Public Health, experts in a wide range of medical and academic fields attack HIV from all sides. Now, a new five-year, $6.25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will help these investigators and others across the city of Chicago work together to slow and stop HIV.
The funding, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), supports the creation of the Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), a partnership between Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Systems and the Center on Halsted.
“The idea behind a CFAR is to provide the glue that brings all different disciplines together,” said director Dr. Richard D’Aquila, professor of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine at Northwestern. “This creates an infrastructure for catalyzing new interdisciplinary grants, services in different content areas of HIV research and seed funding to help new, young investigators and those established in other fields who want to start moving into HIV research for the first time.”
Even before the center was officially funded, Dr. D’Aquila and colleagues began to connect clinical and behavioral researchers with engineers and biologists, contributing to the multidisciplinary team behind a recently awarded $17 million NIH grant to build a drug delivery system for preventing HIV.
Third Coast CFAR co-director, Dr. Brian Mustanski, faculty member at the Institute for Public Health and Medicine-Center for Community Health, has been active in community-engaged research focused on sexual and gender minority youth.
“The Third Coast CFAR has a special focus on reducing the very high rate of new HIV infections among sexual minority young men by catalyzing partnerships and new research that combines the best elements of behavioral and biomedical science across the continuum of prevention to care,” said Dr. Mustanski, who is also director of the IMPACT LGBT Health and Development Program. “We will focus on scientific discovery and implementation of approaches to preventing new infections, increasing the proportion of young men who know their HIV status and expanding the benefits of highly effective medical care among those who are HIV positive.”