In our second interview with Aaron Devanathan, a PhD student in the Kashuba Lab at UNC Pharmacy, we dive deeper into the strategies researchers use on the cutting edge of HIV research, including the technical challenges, tools, and model systems that make the science possible. We cover past, present, and future HIV therapies and also explore the innate immune system in aging and within the context of AIDS (absent-mindedly referred to as auto-immune, rather than Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which is the correct term. I’m chalking that up to a coffee deficiency). Next, Aaron discusses his recent experience in his clinical rotation at UNC hospitals, and his thoughts on being both a PharmD vs a Pharmacy PhD student.
Aaron studies HIV infection and elimination in the Department of Pharmacy at UNC Chapel Hill in the Angela Kashuba Lab. HIV, or Human Immuno-deficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. While modern medicine has done wonders in treating the symptoms of an HIV infection, current drugs fail to eliminate the virus entirely. This is because HIV is dispersed widely throughout the body. Aaron studies how to hunt down HIV and destroy it, ultimately working towards an HIV cure.
Learn more on the Angela Kashuba lab’s website
Follow the Kashuba lab on Twitter
Read about Angela Kashuba and her research on her UNC profile
United States Department of Health and Human Services Guidelines Summary for Treatment of HIV-2 Infection
A clarification from Aaron on HIV-1 vs HIV-2: “Of note, I vacillated on my answer about differences between HIV-1 and HIV-2. I was correct that geographical prevalence is different, but another difference is that HIV-2 is intrinsically resistant to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and enfuvirtide, both of which are used (admittedly not as commonly) for HIV-1 infection”