Research Project: Neurodevelopmental outcomes of HIV-uninfected children pre and perinatally exposed to antiretroviral  treatment.

Postdoc Year(s): 2012-2013

Dr. Michelle Science is a consultant working at the Infectious Diseases Division of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Her CTN-funded research looked at the neurodevelopmental impacts of antiretroviral treatment (ART) on HIV-uninfected children.

“While an effective strategy to prevent mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) of HIV is in place, very little is known about the long-term safety of ART for children exposed to such medications,” says Dr. Science. “There is a noticeable lack of data on the health and developmental outcomes.”

For example, NRTIs found in some ART have been recognized to be toxic in adults, which could mean that they can negatively impact fetal and infant growth and development when administered to pregnant women living with HIV.

Dr. Science hopes that this research will shed light on the long-term safety of ART interventions that prevent perinatal HIV transmission, and provide women with HIV the full information about potential treatment side effects that can be valuable in planning for pregnancy.

Dr. Science has worked at the Hospital for Sick Children for 10 years, beginning with a Pediatric Residency position, and currently works as an Infectious Diseases Consultant. Her supervisors for the project were Drs. Ari Bitnun and Stanley Read.