Our Faculty : Primary Faculty

Savita Pahwa, M.D.

Current Research Interests
1. Miami CFAR: (Director). This NIH funded center is one of 20 in the US and the only one in the state of Florida. Miami has the highest incidence of new HIV infections in the country, and a highly ethnically diverse population. The CFAR provides a forum for exchange of research ideas among investigators through participation in one or more of 6 scientific areas of research. It provides access to Cores for laboratory sciences, clinical cohorts and behavioral science andt provides pilot grant awards for innovative research and links the investigators with the community (P30 AI073961).

2. Immunology Research: I am interested in understanding the role of T follicular helper cells (Tfh) help B cells in vaccine induced antibody responses: Tfh cells are CD4 T cells which traffic to lymphoid germinal centers where they play a critical role in the affinity maturation and somatic hypermutation required for antibody production by B cells. I am using a model of influenza vaccines and investigating this question in HIV/AIDS and aging in humans and non-human primates. Lymphoid tissue is being studied for the spatial distribution and positioning of immune cells pre and post vaccination in draining lymph nodes, as well as the trafficking of Tfh between LN and peripheral blood. I am also currently engaged in a project with GSK/Path to evaluate immunologic basis of protection following RTS, s malaria vaccine in healthy volunteers. (R01AI108472, R01- AI123048, R56AI106718, Path/GSK award).

3. HIV Reservoirs, persistence and remission. Potent antiretroviral drugs have made it possible to achieve durable virus suppression in HIV infected patients but interruption of treatment invariably leads to rapid virus rebound. My research is aimed at understanding the nature and location of HIV reservoirs and strategies for permanent HIV remission without the need for ART. I am engaged in an international study of HIV infected infants treated early with ART to establish immunologic signatures of virus control and virus relapse. Other work in our group indicates that underlying inflammation impairs immune responses and promotes low level virus replication and disease progression. A study in infants in Santo Domingo (PI Mitchell) is investigating role of immune activation and microbial translocation in disease progression of HIV infected infants. This question is being investigated in a cohort of HIV–infected adults with different CD4 nadirs at onset of ART and age matched healthy controls in India, and blood/tissues of HIV infected adults [R21AI106373, R01 AI091521 (Mitchell, C), R01 DA 034589 (Kumar, M), EPIICAL (Early treated Perinatally HIV infected Individuals: Improving Children’s Actual Life; Rossi, P and Giaquinto, C ), CFAR and AIDS Institute pilot grants.

4. HIV clinical disease pathogenesis and clinical trials in HIV infected children and adults through Pediatric and Adult Networks (ACTG/IMPAACT) and Complications committee of IMPAACT [UM1AI069477, (Fischl/Scott)]

5. Other: I like to explore innovative ideas to interact with others engaged in research. Currently exploring/involved in preliminary studies with mesenchymal stem cells (Hare, UM); endothelial progenitor cells (Kumar, M), Duoflo HIV virus (Verdin, E, UCSF) and BCR/TCR repertoire (Boyd, S, Stanford).

Research Profile
Pubmed Link