May 7, 2012

JHU awarded $15 million for AIDS research center

The Johns Hopkins University has been awarded $15 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Center for AIDS Research. CFAR will support more than 180 HIV investigators from the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and other schools. A major priority for CFAR will be to address Baltimore’s HIV epidemic, in addition to training new investigators and conducting international research.

“HIV/AIDS is a major threat to global health and urban America, particularly here in Baltimore,” said Richard Chaisson, lead investigator of CFAR and a professor in the Johns Hopkins schools of Medicine and Public Health. “While we’ve made great improvements in HIV treatment and prevention, much more needs to be done to control the pandemic. CFAR will mobilize the substantial scientific, clinical and public health resources at Johns Hopkins to generate the knowledge necessary to tackle the HIV pandemic.”

CFAR will comprise six core initiatives and three scientific working groups to promote collaboration and synergy across the Johns Hopkins HIV research community.

These areas will include an administrative core, to manage overall activities; a developmental core, to support pilot research grants, mentoring and recruitment; a clinical core, to focus on co-infections, among them tuberculosis, and co-morbidities, such as cardiovascular disease; a prevention core, focusing on comprehensive approaches to prevention research; a biostatistics and epidemiology methods core; and a laboratory core, to facilitate access to laboratory services and to provide methods training.

The three scientific working groups will promote new collaborations to address issues related to substance abuse, bioethics and human rights, and eradication of HIV. The Baltimore HIV group and international group will support research and collaboration.

Johns Hopkins Provost Lloyd B. Minor and the deans of the schools of Public Health, Medicine and Nursing have all pledged additional support to fund pilot research grants and the Baltimore HIV control efforts. The fund will support new investigators, particularly in recruiting and retaining minority investigators in HIV research.

CFAR co-director Chris Beyrer, a professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, said, “CFAR represents a major commitment toward promoting excellence, productivity and growth of HIV research and control efforts at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore and globally.”