Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research

research photo

The Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research (CAHDR) at Meharry Medical College conducts research and other scholarly activities designed to identify, understand, and eliminate factors responsible for the profoundly disproportionate burden of AIDS and HIV infection among minority populations in the United States. The Center is reducing the burden of AIDS in local minority communities through basic, clinical, and translational research.

 

The CAHDR has three major areas of focus: biology, behavioral, and community outreach. Researchers at the CAHDR study new mechanisms of HIV infections, pathogenesis, immunity, and development of novel means for intervention.

Staff

Fernando Villalta

Fernando Villalta, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor
Microbiology and Immunology
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6667
Email: fvillalta@mmc.edu

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Karen Smith

Karen Smith

Senior Administrative Assistant
Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6058
Email: ksmith@mmc.edu

Donald Alcendor

Donald Alcendor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Health Disparities and HIV
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6449
Email:dalcendor@mmc.edu

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Bingdong Liu

Bindong Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Health Disparities and HIV
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6877
Email: bindong@mmc.edu

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Chandravanu Dash

Chandravanu Dash, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6996
Email: cdash@mmc.edu

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Xinhong Dong

Xinhong Dong, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Health Disparities and HIV
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6464
Email: xdong@mmc.edu

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Waldemar Popik, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Health Disparities and HIV
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6734
Email: wpopik@mmc.edu

Atanu Khatua
Postdoc Research Associate, Health Disparities
615.327.6617
akhatua@mmc.edu

Jui Pandhare
Assistant Professor
615.327.5890
jpandhare@mmc.edu

Qiujia Shao
Research Assistant, Senior
615.327.6804
qshao@mmc.edu

Contact Us

Chandravanu (CV) Dash, Ph.D.
Dash and Pandhare LAB
Old Hospital Building
Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research (CAHDR)
Meharry Medical College
1005 Dr. D. B. Todd Jr. Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208
Phone: 615.327.6996
Email: cdash@mmc.edu

Jui Pandhare, Ph.D.
Dash and Pandhare LAB
Old Hospital Building
Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research (CAHDR)
Meharry Medical College
Office: 615.327.6940
Lab : 615.327.6188
Fax: 615.327.6929
Email: jpandhare@mmc.edu

Dash and Pandhare Research Lab

About Us:
The overarching goal of research in this laboratory is to understand how drugs of abuse contribute to HIV-1 pathogenesis. This laboratory focuses on understanding how cocaine modulates target cell biology to enhance HIV-1 replication. This work may identify pathways for a therapeutic intervention.

In The News

  • Congratulations!!! Bobby Jones for the Travel award for the 22nd SNIP (Society on Neuroimmune Pharmacology), held at Krakow, Poland from April 6-9, 2016.
  • Summer-2016: Bobby Jones selected for Summer Research Program at National Institute of Health.
  • Benem Orom Davids awarded “The Best Poster Award” on Student Research Day held at Meharry Medical College, April 12th 2016.
  • Congratulations!!! to Chelsie Swepson for the Grand Prize awarded on Student Research Day held at Meharry Medical College, April 12th 2016.
  • Congrats!! to Chelsie Swepson for successfully defending her thesis (Ph.D.) on the 20th of June 2016. We wish her all the best for her future endeavors.

Alumni

Dr. Amma Addai
Dr. Chinmay Kumar Mantri
Ms. Jyoti V. Mantri
Dr. Alok Ranjan
Dr. Mack Hall Jr.

Research

The long term goal of our laboratory research is to identify, understand and eliminate factors responsible for the profoundly disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS among minority populations in the United States. To achieve this goal our current laboratory research focuses on understanding the biochemical mechanisms of HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis. The specific projects currently being pursued in our laboratory are as follows:

 

1) Understanding the effects of cocaine on HIV-1 replication
Funding Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH
Project Summary: Cocaine is one of the commonly used drugs among HIV-infected patients. HIV positive patients who use cocaine have have a greater risk for AIDS-related death. However, underlying mechanism by which cocaine enhances HIV-1 replication remains unknown. In this project we are examining the mechanism by which cocaine enhances HIV-1 replication in primary CD4+ T cells.

 

2) Examining the synergistc effects of cocaine and HIV-1 on CD4+ T cell decline
Funding Source: Vanderbilt CTSA
Project Summary: CD4+ T cell loss is an important indicator of HIV-1 disease progression. Clinical studies suggest that cocaine abuse accelerates CD4+ T cell loss in HIV-1 infected patients. This research project focuses on examining the synergy between cocaine and HIV-1 virions on CD4+ T cell death in an ex vivo model.

 

3) Determining the effects of methamphetamine on HIV-1 infection/replication
Funding Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse/NIH
Project Summary: Methamphetamine is the second most frequently used illicit drug in the United States. Methamphetamine abuse is associated with increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition, higher viral loads, and enhanced HIV-1 pathogenesis. However, a direct link between methamphetamine abuse and HIV-1 pathogenesis remains to be established in human patients. Therefore, the goal of this project is to test the effects of methamphetamine on HIV-1 replication in CD4+ T cells that are the primary targets of HIV in vivo.

 

4) Examining a direct and functional role of HIV-1 capsid on viral DNA integration
Funding Source: Pittsburgh Center for HIV Protein Interaction, Univ. of Pittsburgh
Project Summary: HIV-1 capsid (CA) is a multifunctional viral protein that plays important roles in reverse transcription and nuclear import of the pre-integration complex (PIC). Despite significant advances in recent years on HIV-1 CA structure and function, a key knowledge gap in the early stages of HIV-1 infection is the potential role of CA in viral DNA integration. The goal of this project is to understand the biochemical basis underlying the role of HIV-1 capsid (CA) in viral integration.