HIV evolution in early infancy and mother to child transmission
Project leader: Dr Mimi Hou, Academic Clinical Fellow
Mimi is working in Prof Rowland-Jones’ group at the Nuffield Department of Medicine. Her project is an extension of previous work in the group, looking at the evolution of HIV in infants and in mother to child transmission. HIV is a fast-evolving virus and looking at how the virus evolves can provide evidence of the immune system acting on the virus to drive mutations. The aims of the projects are to determine if and when the immune system becomes functional in early infancy and, secondly, to look for any specific genetic characteristics of the virus that favour mother to child transmission.
Mimi and her colleagues are working on samples from a historical cohort of mother-and-infant transmission pairs from Kenya. Using molecular cloning, they have obtained clonal sequences of HIV genes from mothers and longitudinal samples from infants. They will use phylogenetic analysis on the genetic sequences obtained to look at virus evolution.
Through this project Mimi has learned new laboratory techniques and been introduced to the field of genomics.