Research Project: Impact of HIV infection and IL-7 immunotherapy on CD4 mucosal recovery

Postdoc Year(s): 2012-2014

Dr. Jenabian is a prolific Canadian/Iranian researcher who moved to France, and later Canada to  continue his study of HIV. His CTN-funded trial was supervised by Drs. Jean-Pierre Routy and Norbert Gimore, and looked at the impact of HIV infection and immunotherapy on CD4 T cell mucosal recovery.

“There is a massive CD4+ T cell depletion during the first few weeks of HIV infection,” says Dr. Jenabian, “in spite of viral suppression on antiretroviral therapy (ART), immune function is only partially restored even after years of therapy for many individuals living with HIV.”

This variability in the restoration of immune function among ART-treated individuals suggests that there is another element at play. More specifically, CD4 depletion in gut mucosa – associated with bacterial infiltration – may play a leading role in this variable response.

As such, the idea behind Dr. Jenabian’s study was to examine the changes in CD4 cell recovery, and changes and function of Regulatory T cells in mucosa compartments following early HIV infection, as well as during ART. He hopes that his research will contribute to the understanding of immune response induced by HIV and open new treatment possibilities.

Dr. Jenabian began his studies in Iran as a Veterinary Specialist. He then moved to France in 2005 to study for his PhD in Virology on the Mucosal Transmission of HIV followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in HIV Immunology. He moved to Canada in 2011 to work as PostDoctoral Fellow at Montreal Chest Institute’s Immunodeficiency Service, and now works as an assistant professor and the holder of the Canada research chair in imuno-virology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He is a prolific researcher and writer, having contributed to 60 papers.