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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Washington Student Wins Young Investigator Award for AIDS Research

Dr. Kristjana Ásbjörnsdóttir, a graduating PhD student from the University of Washington School of Public Health, received the International AIDS Society (IAS) Lange-Van Tongeren young investigator prize for her research on HIV-infected infants and their response to antiretroviral therapy.

Kristjana Asbjornsdottir
[Photo: Dr. Kristjana Ásbjörnsdóttir]

The $2,000 award was given at the recent IAS Conference on HIV Pathogensis, Treatment & Prevention in Vancouver, B.C. and was based on Dr. Ásbjörnsdóttir’s thesis as a student in the Department of Epidemiology. Her abstract received the highest scores out of more than 2,500 entries on the Clinical Science track. The prize was jointly funded by the IAS and the French agency ANRS.

“Infants with HIV are at high risk of disease progression and mortality, and they also respond less well to antiretroviral therapy than older patients,” said Dr. Ásbjörnsdóttir, who also presented her research at the conference. “As part of this work I measured T-cell activation, which is a well-established predictor of disease progression in adult HIV, and its association with antiretroviral response and mortality in a Kenyan infant cohort.”

She added: “Getting recognition for my work is amazing but wouldn’t be possible without great mentorship from my committee, chaired by Dr. Grace John-Stewart; the Kenya Research and Training Center; the Optimizing Pediatric HAART study clinic and lab teams in Nairobi; the HIV Vaccine Trials Network lab where I did lab work; and the support of the Fred Hutch Interdisciplinary Training Grant.”