Patricio E. Ray, MD, the Medical Alumni Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health Research Center was awarded an NIH R01 grant titled “Pathogenesis of renal injury and Hypertension in HIV+ children” for more than $2.6 million to study how the HIV-1 virus and its cytokine milieu modulate the response of renal and systemic vessels under conditions that represent a physiological threat to maintain the blood pressure and renal perfusion of children and adolescents living with HIV. These studies are focused on improving our understanding of these events to prevent long term complications leading to the development of chronic kidney diseases and hypertension in adulthood.
This award will support the efforts of Dr. Ray’s lab and collaborators R. Ariel Gomez, MD, the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Department of Pediatrics Child Hearth Research Center, UVA; Pankaj Kumar PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, UVA; and Jinliang Li, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The George Washington University and Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. The proposal will use new HIV animal models, viral infection assays, cells derived from children living with HIV-1, and single cell transcriptomic analysis to identify the most relevant mechanisms through which HIV-1 affects the maturation and function of renal and systemic vessels. The proposed studies will also identify novel biomarkers of vascular injury and poor renal tissue perfusion to help physicians start the corresponding treatments in a timely manner and prevent long term kidney and cardiovascular diseases. These studies are particularly relevant for children and adolescents of African ancestry living with HIV-1 who are at higher risks of developing these events.