The CTN Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards Program facilitates research in HIV, hepatitis C (HCV) and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) and related health conditions by providing funding to candidates who wish to write a trial protocol, research program, and develop and run their own trial. Each award is worth $50,000 plus up to $5,000 in travel allowance on expenses claimed. The fellowships provide career support and are renewable for up to two years. Former CTN postdoctoral fellows from the last two decades include some of Canada’s leading HIV clinical investigators today.

Eligibility

We invite applications from MDs who have completed their medical residency program or PhDs who have completed their PhD. In addition, Biostatisticians with a PhD and working in a HIV or related health conditions group are also eligible to apply. Only Canadian citizens or permanent residents may apply.

International Fellowship

One International Fellowship is available to train a scientist who is committed to developing and conducting HIV treatment or prevention research studies in a resource-limited country. The amount of this award will be consistent with local rates and will include travel to semi-annual meetings in Canada. Please refer to the specific guidelines for this fellowship.

Sponsors

Program Details

The 2020/21 Competition is now closed.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Over the past 28 years, the CTN Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards Program has allocated 163 awards to a total of 100 fellows.

Dr. Adria Quigley

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Adria Quigley

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Action for Positive Brain Health Now: Ready, Set, Go

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Adria Quigley obtained her PhD from Dalhousie University in 2019, during which she worked closely with Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, and other communities to study the feasibility and impact of yoga on cognitive and physical function among people living with HIV. Dr. Quigley currently teaches Masters of Physiotherapy students at the Dalhousie School of Physiotherapy, while also working with neurological patients in a private clinic.

During her time as a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Quigley will test an innovative approach to enhance adherence to lifestyle interventions, building on feasibility evidence from pilot trials in CTN 273: Brain Health Now. The overall purpose of this research project is to understand, empower, and act to protect and improve brain health in HIV, in order to encourage patients to take charge of their brain health.

Prior to her PhD, Dr. Quigley obtained her BSc in Kinesiology, Exercise, and Sport Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, followed by her Master’s in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto. She has received a number of honours and awards including the College of Kinesiology Dean’s Medal and the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Graduate Scholarship. Her supervisors are Drs. Marie-Josee Brouillette and Nancy Mayo.

 

Dr. Elizabeth King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Elizabeth King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Severity and Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms in Women Living with HIV

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Elizabeth King is an MD currently gaining subspecialty training in Adult Infectious Diseases in the University of British Columbia fellowship program (due for completion in June 2020). She will be entering a Master of Health Sciences program at UBC in the fall.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. King will investigate the evolution of menopausal symptoms in women living with HIV. This project aims to provide much needed knowledge on the experience of menopause among women living with HIV and help inform a future randomized controlled trial of menopausal hormone therapy for this population.

Dr. King received her BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Northern British Columbia, followed by her MD at the University of British Columbia. She has four first author publications, including recent papers in JAIDS and AIDS, and has received several honors and awards, including the Willard Kitchen Memorial Grant and CIHR Women Health Mentorship Grant. Her supervisors are Drs. Melanie Murray and Mona Loufty.

Meaghan Thumath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Meaghan Thumath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Equity-oriented interventions to improve substance use disorder treatment

Year(s): 2020-2021

Meaghan Thumath is a registered nurse with extensive global experience. She will be joining us from the University of Oxford, UK, where she is currently working towards a PhD in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Ms. Thumath will develop and evaluate equity-oriented interventions to improve substance use disorder treatment for marginalized women in Canada. Through conducting this research, she aims to identify and understand differences in treatment outcomes by gender and identify factors associated with substance use-related mortality among marginalized women in Vancouver, Canada.

Ms. Thumath received her BSc from the University of British Columbia School of Nursing, and her Master of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has received several awards and honors, including a Trudeau Scholar Award and Summit Impact Fellowship Award. Her supervisor is Dr. Kate Shannon.

Dr. Elisabeth McClymont

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Elisabeth McClymont

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Viral Determinants of Natural Cytomegalovirus Transmission in Women Living with HIV

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Elisabeth McClymont has built a strong portfolio researching HPV infection and HPV vaccination in women living with HIV. During her PhD program, she was supervised by Dr. Deborah Money and worked on CTN 236.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, she will study CMV transmission among women living with HIV and their children. Through conducting this project, she aims to elucidate the dose dependence between CMV viral load of exposure and risk of CMV transmission, and describe CMV transmitted/founder viruses to determine if they display genotypic features that distinguish them from non-transmitted viruses. Findings will ensure that the parameters of a successful CMV vaccine are described not only for the general population, but also for women living with HIV, who are particularly vulnerable to CMV infection.

Dr. McClymont received her BA in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University, followed by her PhD in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences from the University of British Columbia. She has received a number of honors and awards, including a CAHR Academic Scholarship, ASTDA IUSTI Emerging Investigator, IDSOG Young Investigator of the Year, and Dr. Bernard Duval Award for Vaccination. Her supervisors are Drs. Isabelle Boucoiran and Soren Gantt.

Dr. Stéphane Isnard

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Stéphane Isnard

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Improving gut health in ART-treated people living with HIV

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Stéphane Isnard is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre in Montréal, investigating mucosal gut immunity in HIV. He is working under the supervision of Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy, Co-Lead of the CTN’s Vaccines and Immunotherapies Core.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Isnard will work towards understanding the role of the gut mucosa in HIV pathogenesis and design clinical trials to counteract its negative effect in people living with HIV under antiretroviral therapy. To achieve this, he will further develop two CTN pilot studies: CTNPT 032 and CTNPT 038.

Dr. Isnard obtained his Bachelor degree in Cell Biology from Aix-Marseille University, France, followed by his Master’s degree in Immunology from Pierre and Marie Curie University, France. He completed his PhD at Paris Descartes University, France. He has published 14 papers, on three of which he was first author, plus over 30 abstracts. He has received several awards and honours, including an EMBO Young Investigator Award, a CAHR New Investigator Award, the IAS Domonique Dormont prize, and an IAS/ANRS Lange/Van Tongeren Prize. His supervisor will continue to be Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy.

Dr. Richard Mwamba Kabuya

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Richard Mwamba Kabuya

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A retrospective cohort study on ART outcomes and adherence at the Senkatana ART clinic in Lesotho

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Richard Mwamba Kabuya is currently obtaining his Master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. For the past 6 years, Dr. Kabuya has been working at Botšabelo Hospital, an infectious diseases hospital that specializes in the clinical management of Tuberculosis and HIV.

As a CTN International Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Kabuya will investigate the treatment outcomes of HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) after 36 months on treatment in line with Lesotho’s ART Treatment Guidelines. The ultimate purpose is to develop a protocol for a trial to improve adherence and retention in care.

Dr. Kabuya received his Doctor in Medicine at the University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and his diploma in Clinical Management of TB and HIV at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His local supervisors are Drs. Simba Takuva and Alfred Musekiwa and his Canada-based supervisors are Drs. Lawrence Mbuagbaw and Lehana Thabane.

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Examining the implementation and potential expansion of an internet-based testing service for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez is a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow at the BC Centre for Disease Control and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Her work is based on applied research that focuses on the sociopolitical and equity dimensions of implementing online sexual health services.

At the CTN, her research project will examine how organizations are able to roll out and improve GetCheckedOnline (GCO), an internet-based testing service for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections currently available in British Columbia, Canada. Using institutional ethnography, Dr. Gómez-Ramírez aims to determine how to implement and expand GCO in fair and sustainable ways, and gain insight from healthcare and community stakeholders to understand the contextual obstacles and opportunities that have shaped the implementation and sustainability of GCO. She also hopes to gain insights into how sexual health services are implemented in general, and how to promote the equitable growth of digital health interventions.

Dr. Gómez-Ramírez obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Hispanic Language and Literatures at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She then pursued another Honors degree in Ethnology at the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico. She subsequently achieved her Master’s degree and PhD in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. She has been co-applicant in a CIHR-funded HIV Implementation Science Team Grant and a BCCDC Foundation for Public Health-funded Blue Sky Grant, and has received several fellowships and awards, including Canada’s SSHRC Vanier Graduate Scholarship and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Trainee Award. Finally, she has contributed to ten journal articles, two book chapters, six scientific abstracts, and three book reviews. Her supervisor is Dr. Mark Gilbert.

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A targeted loneliness intervention to improve safer sexual behaviour among gay, bisexual and other MSM

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Sessional Instructor in the Psychology Department at Ryerson University. She is also the National Team Manager for the Engage Study Team – a multi-site national study on the sexual health of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM).

As a CTN Postdoctoral Researcher, her project will involve collaborating with gbMSM community members in order to: (1) Understand which types of loneliness (emotional vs. social) are more common and have the greatest negative impact on HIV/STI risk and prevention behaviours among gbMSM; (2) Investigate whether PrEP and TasP play a mitigating role in gbMSM’s loneliness-related sexual risk-taking behaviours; (3) Develop a crossover trial to determine where emotion- or problem-focused coping strategy training is most effective for gbMSM experiencing social or emotional loneliness; (4) Develop a community-based, peer-led intervention that will promote community engagement, the development of effective coping strategies for loneliness, and safer sexual practices among gbMSM.

Dr. Skakoon-Sparling received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Psychology at the University of Guelph. She subsequently gained a Master’s degree in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Windsor and a PhD in Applied Social Psychology. She has received several grants and awards, including a CIHR Operating Grant, a CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant, and a Mitacs Accelerate Postdoctoral Research Grant. Finally, she has written involvement in 13 papers and 36 abstracts. Her supervisor is Dr. Trevor Hart.

Dr. Haneesha Mohan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Haneesha Mohan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The Impact of Exposure to Dolutegravir and other HIV Antiretrovirals during Pregnancy: Risks Associated with Neural Tube Defects and Impaired Metabolism

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Haneesha Mohan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University Health Network and has a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fellowships Award and a CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.

As a Postdoctoral Researcher for the CIHR and CTN, she will investigate the impact of exposure to dolutegravir (DTG) and other HIV antiretrovirals (ARVs) during pregnancy, assessing the risks associated with neural tube defects (NTD) and impaired metabolism. As a result of 2018 interim data from the Tsepamo study in Botswana, which reported a higher rate of NTD in women with DTG exposure at conception, the future of DTG was questioned. Maternal obesity and diabetes are recognized risk factors for NTD. DTG side effects include hyperglycemia, which may predispose women to NTD by altering metabolic homeostasis. Therefore, Dr. Mohan argues, “It is imperative that we confirm whether DTG, and other HIV ARVs used in pregnancy, is associated with NTD, and determine mechanistically how specifically DTG alters metabolic homeostasis.” Her study will provide key evidence on whether DTG, and other HIV ARVs used in pregnancy, is associated with NTD using an animal model. Her findings will aim to address critical gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the pathobiology of ARV-associated NTD and impaired metabolism, and help establish a rational basis for further evaluation of effective interventions and informed regimen selection in pregnancy.

Dr. Mohan earned her Bachelor of Life Science (Hons.) degree in Life Sciences with a Minor in Health Geography at McMaster University, and then pursued her PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in Integrative Neuroendocrinology. She has authored nine papers, two book chapters, and 19 abstracts. Finally, she has been awarded several grants and awards, including Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and Veterinary Biomedical Science (VBMS) Devolved Scholarships, and two consecutive Banting and Best Diabetes Centre (BBDC) Postdoctoral Fellowships in Diabetes Care, held at the Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Her supervisor is Dr. Lena Serghides.

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Geospatial analyses of data from the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CTN 262) CHIWOS and expansion to the Maritime Provinces

Year(s): 2018-2021

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Women’s College Research Institute at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto. Her research interests lie in the anthropology of health, social sciences, and women’s health, specifically women living with HIV in Canada.

During her fellowship, Dr. Medeiros will analyze the CTN 262 CHIWOS data, with an emphasis on the care disparities between rural and urban women living with HIV in Ontario. She hypothesizes that care disparities are greater for women living with HIV in rural areas and small cities compared with large centres that have specialized HIV care for women. As a second phase of her fellowship, she will expand the reach of CHIWOS into the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island to explore the experiences and health priorities of women living with HIV in these regions.

Dr. Medeiros completed her MA in Medical Anthropology at the University of New Brunswick and her PhD in Anthropology of Health at McMaster University. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Mona Loutfy.

Dr. Tivani Mashamba-Thompson

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Tivani Mashamba-Thompson

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: HIV Self-testing Delivery Approaches for Improving Urban Men’s Engagement with HIV Services in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Year(s): 2019-2020

Dr. Tivani Mashamba-Thompson is a Senior Lecturer and Academic Leader in the School of Nursing and Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her position involves many responsibilities, including the implementation of school research strategies, chairing the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee, and facilitating research-related staff development.

At the CTN, Dr. Mashamba-Thompson will conduct research to determine acceptable delivery approaches for HIV self-testing for urban men in South Africa. The study focuses on improving diagnosis and urban men’s engagement in HIV prevention and care in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. According to Dr. Mashamba-Thompson, “Evidence on acceptability of HIV self-testing in sub-Saharan Africa has suggested higher acceptability of HIV self-testing among men than women. As HIV self-testing has recently been introduced as part of the HIV services in South Africa, it is important to use appropriate delivery modes to maximize uptake and patient outcomes.”

Dr. Mashamba-Thompson obtained a Foundation degree in Health Sciences and Bachelor of Science (Hons.) degree at the University of Surrey, a postgraduate diploma at the University of Greenwich, and a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences and PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has received several grants and awards, including a South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA) PhD Fellowship and an African Doctorate Dissertation Research Fellowship. Finally, she has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and conducted several conference presentations and keynote speeches. Her supervisors are Drs. Lehana Thabane and Richard Lessells.

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The HAVARTI trial: Vedolizumab treatment in antiretroviral drug-treated chronic HIV infection, followed by analytical treatment interruption (HIV-ART-vedolizumab-ATI)

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty is currently enrolled in a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital. Her key research interests include HIV therapeutics (particularly immune-based) and HIV immunopathogenesis, with the ultimate aspiration of addressing issues in global health and improving the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV around the world.

During her fellowship, Dr. McGuinty will continue her work on the HAVARTI (CTN PT031) pilot study, analyzing the potential therapeutic benefit of vedolizumab, an anti-α4β7 integrin monoclonal antibody, on HIV viremia in HIV-positive, antiretroviral therapy-treated adults. She also intends to pursue research into the role of anti-α4β7 integrin monoclonal antibody in the treatment of HIV.

Dr. McGuinty completed her Bachelor’s degree (hons.) in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa and subsequently obtained her MD from McMaster University. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and specialty training in Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital. She has been the recipient of honours and awards including the Dr. Paul O’Byrne Award for Academic Achievement in Internal Medicine and the University of Ottawa Entrance Scholarship. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Bill Cameron.

Dr. Ronita Nath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ronita Nath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: To examine the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of men who have sex with men (MSM) around sexual behaviours in an attempt to better understand the drivers of syphilis and other bacterial STIs

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Ronita Nath is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Her research interests include working with vulnerable populations and the social determinants of health. She is passionate about researching at-risk populations, particularly street children who have used drugs and were active members of street gangs in New Delhi, India. Her enthusiasm to advocate for marginalized groups ensured she paid great attention to ethics, high-quality research, and statistics, thus conclusively proving that drop-in centres may have a positive impact on the physical and mental health, and substance use status, among street children.

Dr. Nath’s current research aims to reduce the vulnerability to STBBIs experienced by gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). During her time as a Postdoctoral Fellow, she hopes her research will improve the understanding of the drivers of bacterial STIs in British Columbia, and help more HIV-positive MSM in Canada and beyond. Her methodology proposes the use of mixed-methods design to investigate the causes of STBBIs among MSM.

Dr. Nath completed her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University. She then obtained her MPH in International Public Health from New York University, and completed her PhD in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Troy Grennan.

 

Dr. Kiffer Card

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kiffer Card

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Community-based interventions to optimize PrEP and TasP adherence among substance-using gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM)

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Kiffer Card is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE). His primary research interest lies in the study of theoretical and analytical methodologies most relevant to the research of physical, mental, and sexual health. He has also researched a myriad of issues regarding HIV risk, treatment as prevention, substance use, as well as physical and mental health. His resulting epidemiological public health expertise have provided him with the ability to conduct community-based research, with a goal of improving HIV-negative men’s adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV-positive men’s adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

During his time as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Card aims to investigate community-developed and empirically evaluated research targeting potential adverse patterns of substance use and HIV incidence among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM). Upon completion of his study, Dr. Card hopes to provide a greater understanding of “the particular mechanisms associated with their poor adherence.” He believes in the importance of “developing a community-based, peer-led, and socially supportive intervention that can promote ART adherence among HIV-positive men and PrEP adherence among at-risk HIV-negative men.”

Dr. Card completed his Bachelor’s degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Brigham Young University. He subsequently pursued his doctoral degree at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Robert S. Hogg. Finally, his PhD thesis focused on examining the social and technological factors associated with gbMSM sexual behaviour and HIV risk. He graduated in June 2018, while finishing his doctoral fellowship with BC-CfE.

Dr. Hudson Reddon

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hudson Reddon

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Investigating the impact of evolving cannabis access and use on HIV acquisition, transmission, and treatment outcomes

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Hudson Reddon is a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of British Columbia (UBC) at the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU).

During his fellowship with the CTN, Dr. Reddon evaluated how cannabis access and use impact high-risk substance use trajectories. This work included investigating how cannabis use influences infectious disease and overdose risks among early-stage substance users (e.g., injection drug use initiation), established injectors (e.g., injection frequency and injection cessation), as well as the impact of cannabis use on engagement with HIV and substance use treatment.

Dr. Reddon completed his graduate training at McMaster University in the department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He has received several honours and awards as an early career researcher including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Louis Minden Scholarship in Preventative Medicine, and was recently awarded a Michael Smith Foundation in Health Research Trainee award to support his postdoctoral work. Dr. Reddon is supervised by Dr. M-J Milloy who was recently appointed as UBC’s inaugural Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science.

Dr. Alemayehu Amberbir

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alemayehu Amberbir

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Retention in care of patients initiated ART under “test-and-treat” strategy: A cohort analysis of data from real-life settings in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe

Postdoc Year(s): 2018-2019

Dr. Alemayehu Amberbir was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at Dignitas International in Zomba, Malawi. He is currently a Science Director at Partners in Hope, and staff at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, based in Malawi. His research interests lie in medical epidemiology and public health, focusing his efforts in rural and urban Malawi. In addition, he contributes to a myriad of research projects on implementing non-communicable disease (NCD) and HIV care, such as the Grand Challenges Canada NCD-HIV integration project and NIH-funded implementation research projects.

During his fellowship, Dr. Amberbir will investigate the retention in care of patients taking antiretroviral therapy under the “test-and-treat” strategy. The data will be collected and analyzed in Southern Africa, thus instigating a nuanced study.

Dr. Amberbir completed his MSc in Public Health at Jimma University. He subsequently received his PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health from the University of Nottingham. His supervisors for this fellowship are Drs. Adrienne Chan and Joep van Oosterhout.

Dr. Jun Chen

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Jun Chen

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Contribution of tryptophan metabolism in HIV inflammation and persistence

Year(s): 2018-2019

Dr. Jun Chen is an Infectious Disease Resident at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center. His primary research interest lies in the design and implementation of an immunotherapy aimed at controlling the size of the HIV reservoir.

During his fellowship, Dr. Chen will focus on assessing the relationship between indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enzyme activity (kynureine/tryptophan ratio), persistent inflammation on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and size of HIV reservoir. He is also interested in conducting some additional analyses that could inform a clinical trial wherein an anti-IDO antibody is used as an immune checkpoint inhibitor aimed at reducing the size of the HIV reservoir.

Dr. Chen received his MD degree from Tianjin TCM University and his PhD from Fudan University. Over the course of his studies, Dr. Chen published a number of peer-reviewed papers and worked at Imperial College London for six months. His supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy.

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Mathematical modeling of sexual co-transmission of hepatitis C and HIV in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with other men in Canada

Year(s): 2017-2019

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Her research interests lie in infectious disease epidemiology and how laboratory research can shape and inform clinical care and disease prevention at a population level, especially in the context of HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection.

During her fellowship, Dr. Moqueet will investigate the relationship between patterns of HIV seroadaptive behaviours and HCV transmission using both epidemiological methods and mathematical models. She is also interested in quantifying the roles of biological factors such as higher HCV infectiousness in persons living with HIV and seroadaptive behaviours in driving HCV transmission and understanding how these might impact the anticipated effectiveness of HCV treatment in reducing HCV.

Dr. Moqueet completed her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and obtained her PhD in Epidemiology from McGill University. Her supervisors for this fellowship are Drs. Sharmistha Mishra and Ann Burchell.

Dr. Kayode Balogun

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kayode Balogun

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A lipidomics approach to identify biomarkers and nutritional interventions to improve birth outcomes in HIV-positive pregnancy. 

Year(s): 2017-2019

Dr. Kayode Balogun is a postdoctorate fellow at the Toronto General Research Institute. His research interests concern maternal and infant health in the face of infection, and he is interested in understanding how an adverse in utero environment caused by HIV contributes to adverse birth outcomes and fetal developmental programming, with a goal of identifying biomarkers and interventions to improve birth outcomes in high risk pregnancy.

Dr. Balogun’s current research investigates the impact of in utero exposure to hIV antiretrovirals on fetal development and neurocognitive performance. During his time as a postdoctorate fellow, he aims to understand the mechanisms involved in the adverse outcomes associated with the use of HIV antiretrovirals during pregnancy using clinical samples collected from HIV-positive and HIV-negative pregnant women and validated using in vitro animal models.

Dr. Balogun completed his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Lagos State University, Nigeria. He then went on to obtain his MSc from in biomedical science from the University of East London, and completed his PhD in biochemistry from Memorial University in 2015. His supervisors for this fellowship will be Drs. Lena Serghides and Sharon Walmsley.

Dr. Mamadou Kaba

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mamadou Kaba

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The nasopharyngeal fungal microbiota in HIV-exposed uninfected and HIV non-exposed children with and without lower respiratory diseases

Year(s): 2017-2018

Dr. Mamadou Kaba is a CTN International Fellow residing in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a clinician-scientist who currently holds a position as a Wellcome Trust Training Fellow in the Division of Medical Microbiology at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Kaba’s research interests include the study of the contribution of microbial community to human health.

Through his fellowship, Dr. Kaba hopes to use the results of his study to contribute to a better understanding of the role and interaction of the nasopharyngeal microbiota in the development of acute to severe childhood lower respiratory illnesses. Dr. Kaba will also look at the differences in the microbial community between HIV-exposed and unexposed children and assess whether this impacts lower respiratory diseases. Future research could then lead to a better understanding of the ‘complete’ microbial etiology of respiratory diseases of childhood to guide therapy regimens for improved patient care management.

Dr. Kaba received his medical degree from the University of Conakry, Guinea. He also holds a MSc and a PhD, both in infectious diseases, from Aix-Marseille University, France. His supervisors for his fellowship are Prof. Lehana Thabane (McMaster University, Canada) and Prof. Mark P. Nicol (University of Cape Town, South Africa).

Dr. Nancy Nashid

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nancy Nashid

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Perinatally HIV infected youth transitioning to adult care: Experiences and attitudes informing best practice for transition

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nancy Nashid is a post-graduate fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto. Her current research looks at the transition from youth to adult care in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) among youth infected with HIV at birth or in early childhood. Her research is supervised by Drs. Ari Bitnun, Jason Brophy, and Stanley Read.

“My involvement with Refuge Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health and advocacy work with Hamilton’s inner city youth through the Catholic Children’s Aid Society were eye-opening experiences for me, as I witnessed firsthand the stigma facing young people living with HIV,” says Dr. Nancy Nashid.

The lack of scientific evidence on how to best care for youth transitioning to adult care presents a challenge for HIV care providers. Studies have highlighted experiences in other high-income countries, but with differing health care systems the extent to which their findings apply to Canada is unknown. A 2007 report estimated that 300 HIV-positive children and adolescents were being cared for in Canadian pediatric centres, half of which were aged 12-22.

Dr. Nashid’s research during her CTN fellowship will explore the experiences of HIV-positive youth in the GTA in their transition from pediatric to adult care. It aims to describe the clinical and health outcomes of this group as well as predictors of successful transition. She hopes to contribute to the development of evidence-based guidelines on this subject.

Dr. Nashid completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences and Doctor of Medicine, as well as post-graduate Pediatric Residency Training, at McMaster University.

Dr. Nadine Kronfli

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nadine Kronfli

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Projects:

  • Hepatic fibrosis progression in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infection: The effect of iron-deficiency anemia among co-infected women
  • Hepatic fibrosis progression in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infection: The effect of estrogen among co-infected women

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nadine Kronfli is a member of the CTN’s Prevention and Vulnerable Population’s Women’s Working Group, which is involved in the care of women living with HIV across Canada. She has “a longstanding interest in women living with HIV,” and says that “the best way to shape policy is by being at the forefront of clinical research.”

She has authored several abstracts using data from CTN 262: CHIWOS, the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study, a longitudinal study that evaluates the success of women-centred HIV/AIDS services. Her CHIWOS research has primarily focused on the cascade of care, with particular attention to access to and retention in HIV care for Canadian women living with HIV. Her postdoctoral project, supervised by Dr. Marina Klein (McGill University Health Centre), will “put women at the forefront of research.”

Her projects will aim is to determine the role of iron-deficiency and estrogen-deficient states on the progression of liver fibrosis in HIV/hepatitis C co-infected Canadian women. Fibrosis progression remains an important topic of research even in the era of direct-acting antivirals. Many patients remain untreated due to the prohibitive cost of therapy and fibrosis restrictions. In addition, despite successful treatment, hepatic fibrosis may not regress completely. As such, Dr. Kronfli believes it is important to study other modifiable risk factors that may impact liver disease in the long-term, even among individuals who have been successfully treated. The hope is to then explore the role of iron supplementation and hormone replacement on the progression of liver fibrosis in interventional studies.

Dr. Kronfli completed a Bachelor of Science at McGill University, a Master of Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health, a Medical Doctorate at the University of Ottawa, and fellowships at both McMaster University (Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases) and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (HIV Care). She recently obtained her Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt in Lima, Peru. At the University of Ottawa, she opted for the francophone stream of the medical program in order to be able to “serve in any corner of Canada as well as much of the world.” She begins her postdoctoral fellowship on July 1, 2016.

Dr. Nisha Andany

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nisha Andany

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women in Ontario

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nisha Andany is working towards a career as an academic Infectious Diseases specialist with a focus on preventative medicine and co-infections within the HIV-positive population.

“Because my undergraduate degree was in health sciences, I have a strong interest in preventative medicine.” Through studies dealing with HIV-positive women that she worked while at medical school, she also developed “an interest in the areas of co-infections and prevention, specifically within HIV-positive individuals.”

Her current research is focused on the incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women. “Cervical dysplasia and cancer, caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), is a significant health burden among women, despite the fact that it is preventable with proper screening. Screening is essential for all women, but especially for women living with HIV.”

Cervical dysplasia and cancer are more common and aggressive in women with HIV due to the impairment of their immune system. Dr. Andany’s work will seek to study access to and rates of cancer screening and follow-up for HIV-positive women in Ontario. It aims to estimate the annual incidence of cervical cancer and address the gap in knowledge needed to create screening guidelines for HIV-positive women.

Dr. Andany earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree at the University of Waterloo before completing her Doctor of Medicine and specialty certifications in General Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases at the University of Toronto. She was a research student at both the Women’s College Research Institute and the Mount Sinai Hospital, both in Toronto. Dr. Mona Loutfy (Women’s College Research Institute) will supervise her postdoctoral fellowship.

Dr. Malika Sharma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Malika Sharma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Building healthcare capacity and patient empowerment through Patient-Initiated Continuing Medical Education (PICME) on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Malika Sharma is currently pursuing a Master of Education at the University of Toronto.

Her research involves a patient-initiated Continuing Medical Education (CME) approach as a strategy to decentralize the delivery of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) education. Her study empowers patients to inform their primary care givers about a CME course on PrEP.

“I am looking to amplify the patient’s voice and to engage patients in research and education in a meaningful way,” says Dr. Sharma.

The immediate goal of Dr. Sharma’s study is to assess the number of individuals receiving PrEP as a result of CME. She will evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based CME program in increasing the ability of primary care providers to provide PrEP. Her supervisor is Dr. Darrell Tan (St. Michael’s Hospital).

In 2014, there were over 2,500 new HIV infections in Canada. According to two recent studies, PROUD and IPERGAY (CTN 268), PrEP can prevent the risk of acquiring HIV by 86%, yet use remains low despite patient demand. Survey results have demonstrated that primary care providers feel they lack the knowledge and capacity to deliver PrEP. As a result, PrEP is most often prescribed by HIV specialists, resulting in wait times as long as 51 days.

Dr. Sharma earned her Bachelor of Health Sciences and Doctor of Medicine at McMaster University before going on to further projects at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Chelsea Elwood

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Chelsea Elwood

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The role of HIV and the vaginal microbiome in triggering preterm birth and shaping the infant microbiome

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Elwood attended secondary school in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and then went on to earn a Bachelor and Master of Science at the University of Western Ontario before returning to BC where she completed her Medical Doctorate at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on HIV in pregnancy.

“I am hoping to work in the field of reproductive infectious disease, caring for HIV-positive women by meeting their reproductive health needs and driving research to improve their care.”

Her CTN postdoctoral study aims to evaluate the causes of the increased rate of preterm births in women living with HIV compared with the general population.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in the world. Despite antiretroviral therapies being very effective at decreasing the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission, HIV-positive women are still 1.5 to 2.5 times more at risk of preterm birth. The preterm birth rate for HIV-positive women in BC is 16-19%, more than twice the Canadian average for HIV-negative women.

The aim of Dr. Elwood’s research is to evaluate the vaginal microbiome in HIV-positive women who deliver both at term and preterm, in an effort to better understand possible causation. Dr. Elwood will also evaluate the impact of HIV status in shaping the intestinal microbiome of infants born to HIV-positive women both term and pre-term. This is a subgroup analysis of the second objective of CTN 291 – Preterm birth in HIV-positive pregnancies. Her supervisor will be Dr. Deborah Money in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Moleen Zunza

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Moleen Zunza

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Feasibility and effects of interactive weekly mobile phone text messaging versus usual care in promoting and sustaining continued breast-feeding by HIV-infected women in South Africa: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Year(s): 2016-2017

Dr. Moleen Zunza is an International Fellow from Zimbabwe. She has relocated to South Africa and is researching the effects of incorporating text messaging into physician communication with women living with HIV who are breastfeeding their newborn children.

It is known that HIV can be transmitted from mother-to-child throughout the duration of breastfeeding. Therefore, formula feeding is recommended for mothers living with HIV in the developed world. In the developing world, however, breastfeeding with antiretroviral therapy support is often recommended to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality associated with formula feeding.

In resource-limited settings, the dilemma of how women living with HIV should feed their infants has largely been resolved thanks to the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in preventing transmission. However, in the South African context, very few women choose breastfeeding. Dr. Zunza’s research seeks to examine the effectiveness of communication via text messages in addressing the social and contextual barriers to breastfeeding in South Africa.

As part of her fellowship, Dr. Zunza is running a pilot study to test the feasibility for a larger study of an interactive weekly mobile phone text message versus the standard of care in promoting sustained breastfeeding by women living with HIV. The study will recruit 60 participants over 12 weeks in primary healthcare clinics in Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Zunza earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Zimbabwe before moving to Stellenbosch University in South Africa where she completed a Master of Science and later a PhD in Maternal/Child Health. Her supervisors for her fellowship are, from Canada, Dr. Lehana Thabane (McMaster University), and in South Africa, Drs. Mark Cotton and Taryn Young (Stellenbosch University).

Zunza M, Cotton MF, Mbuagbaw L, Lester R, Thabane L. Interactive weekly mobile phone text messaging plus motivational interviewing in promotion of breastfeeding among women living with HIV in South Africa. Trials. 2017 July 17:18(331).

Dr. Hanh Thi Pham

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hanh Thi Pham

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Characterization of dolutegravir-resistant HIV with respect to its ability to establish latency and attain reactivation.

Year(s): 2015-2017

Dr. Pham began her studies in Vietnam, before coming to Canada in 2007 to complete her PhD in Biology at the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier in Quebec. She now conducts research at the McGill AIDS Centre under the supervision of Dr. Mark Wainberg.

Dr. Pham’s work is focused on the determination of whether dolutegravir-resistant HIV is different in regard to its ability to establish latency and attain reactivation from latency compared to wild-type viruses and others forms of drug resistant viruses. Secondary, she is evaluating the potential for viruses with reduced fitness due to dolutegravir resistance to be rescued by superinfection and/or recombination.

Dr. Gisele Ngomba-Kadima

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Gisele Ngomba-Kadima

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Evaluation and improvement of adherence to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in HIV positive pregnant women in a low resource setting

Year(s): 2015-2016

Dr. Ngomba-Kadima is an international fellow from Lesotho, Africa. Her CTN-funded research looks at evaluating and improving the adherence to ART in pregnant women living with HIV in a low resource setting.

Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world – a staggering 23% of the population are living with HIV. Given the large number of women living with HIV in the country, Lesotho contributes greatly to the estimated 330,000 new HIV infections that occur yearly through vertical (mother to child) transmission. In 2013, the World Health Organization recommended initiation of combination ART (cART) for all infected pregnant or breast feeding women in Lesotho. The goal of this research project is to investigate and improve adherence to this type of care and therapy for HIV-positive pregnant women, in order to reduce the number of new vertical infections in Lesotho.

Dr. Ngomba-Kadima studied at the University of Kinshasa, Congo, before moving to Lesotho. Since then, she has worked at several hospitals, and now works as a family medicine doctor at Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital. Her Canadian supervisors are Drs. Lawrence Mbuagbaw and Lehana Thabane, and Dr. Kyaw Thin in Lesotho.

Dr. Margo Pearce

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Margo Pearce

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Recognizing and responding to barriers to HCV treatment among young Indigenous people

Year(s): 2015-2016

Dr. Margo Pearce is a grant writer and research coordinator for the Cedar Project, a prospective cohort study of young Indigenous people who used drugs in BC. Her postdoctoral project looks at identifying and understanding barriers to HCV treatment for young Indigenous people who use drugs in BC, particularly in Vancouver and Prince George.

Canadian data indicates that Indigenous people are vastly over-presented among people who inject drugs, and in turn among people living with HIV, HCV, and HIV-HCV coinfection. These issues are further exacerbated the low rates of treatment uptake among Indigenous people. For example, a 2008 study reported that out of 2500 patients in an HCV treatment program, only 1.7% were Indigenous. In particular, Indigenous youth appear to be more severely impacted.

To help tackle this situation, Dr. Pearce seeks to first identify and then address barriers to treating chronic HCV infection  among young Indigenous people who use drugs. She hopes that her research will have great significance for improving health outcomes.

Dr. Pearce recently defended her PhD in Health and Epidemiology from the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health. Her co-supervisors are Drs. Marina Klein and Robert Hogg.

Dr. Nathan Lachowsky

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nathan Lachowsky

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Optimizing Adherence to Combination HIV Prevention for Younger Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, and Other Men who have Sex with Men

Year(s): 2015-2016

Dr. Lachowsky is a promising young researcher who has garnered much praise from his peers and supervisors. At only 27 years old, he is one of the youngest recipients of the Postdoctoral Fellowship. His research project will look at optimizing adherence of combination HIV prevention for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Combination HIV prevention is an HIV prevention approach developed and employed by the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS, seeking the drastically reduce rates of new HIV infections. In turn, “younger MSM are an important HIV prevention priority group, because their HIV incidence and prevalence rates are low, but increase markedly with age,” says Dr. Lachowsky.  Given the lack of research on this prevention strategy in Canada, Dr. Lachowsky aims to employ and evaluate combination HIV prevention among MSM below 30 years of age in the Metro Vancouver area.

Nathan and his supervisor Dr. Moore will develop a community-based research approach that will plan, design, deliver and trial an intervention to optimize combination HIV prevention for this specific at-risk group.

Dr. Lachowsky received a BsC at the University of Guelph, and followed up with a PhD in epidemiology before moving to BC in 2014. He is currently pursuing postgraduate studies at the University of British Columbia and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, under the guidance of Dr. David Moore. He has received numerous scholarships and awards, and completed the CIHR’s Universities Without Walls Fellowship Program. He is also a prolific writer, having already co-written 13 published academic papers, as well as 83 abstracts.

Dr. Connie Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Connie Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Probiotics  to improve gut health and immune function in people living with HIV

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Connie Kim is a PhD fellow from the University of Toronto with a focus on improving the long-term  care of people living with HIV. As Dr. Kim explains, “the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically reduced mortality and serious non-AIDS conditions in people with HIV…however they still have greater adverse health outcomes than their-age matched peers.” Her particular project as a CTN Postdoc focuses on the use of probiotics to improve gut health and immune function of people living with HIV.

“My doctoral work demonstrated that HIV significantly damages the gut mucosal barrier and reduces the number and function of key immune T cells…this damage results in the leaking of bacteria into the bloodstream, and in turn causes harmful effects.” This is especially important considering that recent studies have shown that the composition of the gut microbiota  can drastically impact human health.

Dr. Kim hopes that the addition of probiotics to ART for people living with HIV will accelerate gut immune function and reduce inflammation, helping bridge the health outcomes gap between HIV positive and HIV negative individuals of the same age.

Ms. Kim just recently defended her PhD on the impact of HIV on gut mucosal immunology in April of 2014. She received her Masters of Science in 2008 in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph.

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Assessment of geographic distance between Canadian HIV-infected individuals and their care-providers on treatment adherence and virologic suppression

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie is looking at the impact of geographic barriers to care on clinical outcomes in HIV in British Columbia and Canada.

Dr. MacKenzie’s research was inspired by her experience as a resident physician at the University of Manitoba. “The seemingly simple act of attending a medical appointment can be a huge challenge for people living in rural or remote communities. It can take over a day just to travel to the appointment,” she highlights.

She adds that “the lack of confidentiality in a small community, increased discrimination, the absence of services such as addiction treatment and mental health care, and HIV care-provider inexperience” can make geographic location a significant barrier for individuals living with HIV.

While research in the disparity of outcomes between rural and urban populations living with HIV is plentiful in the U.S., in Canada it is “an underexplored area that is extremely relevant, given our country’s large non-urban population and vast geographic size,” says Dr. MacKenzie. She hopes that her research will provide a better understanding of how rurality impacts HIV care, in turn allowing healthcare specialists to fine-tune the delivery of HIV care in rural and remote regions of Canada.

So far, the research indicates several differences between individuals living in rural versus urban regions, in terms of antiretroviral prescription patterns, as well as HIV care outcomes. For example, rural patients were found to have worse Programmatic Compliance Scores, a HIV-specific metric that is predictive of mortality among individuals starting antiretroviral therapy. Dr. MacKenzie’s Fellowship Award has been renewed for another year to allow her to further build on these findings.

Dr. MacKenzie obtained her MD at the University of Calgary, then moved to the University of Manitoba to complete residency training in Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases, and finally to the University of British Columbia where she is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health postgraduate degree, alongside her work at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Her postdoctoral co-supervisors are Drs. Julio Montaner and Mark Hull, two leading HIV researchers.

Dr. MacKenzie’s Publications

Dr. Sarah Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Sarah Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Infant feeding practices in HIV-infected mothers in Canada: Understanding the psychosocial, medical and biological context of breast feeding and breast-milk transmission

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Sarah Khan is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Khan focuses on pediatric HIV care, and her CTN-funded research aims to understand the biologic, psychosocial, and medical factors related to infant feeding practices for women living with HIV in Canada.

While guidelines in developed countries recommend exclusive formula feeding for women living with HIV, barriers to implementing this exist even in resource-rich Canada.

“As a pediatrician, I recognize the benefits of breastfeeding, and as a woman, I see the importance of women with HIV being informed and counselled on to the risks and benefits. I don’t think this issue is black and white in terms of legal or child protection implications,” says Dr. Khan.

Although there is a body of literature from low and middle-income countries regarding HIV transmission risk from breastfeeding, how much of this can be borrowed and applied to the Canadian context is unclear.

“I think my interest in paediatric HIV research stems from wanting to care not just for kids, but their families and communities,” she says. “Because paediatric care is a field that transcends generations, ethnicities, and communities, it is vital for a multicultural country like Canada to ensure we are providing the highest standard of evidence based care.”

The main goal of paediatric HIV care is to prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). “Maybe more can be done to ensure our patients are getting the best and safest care, perhaps we can help to reduce stigma, or improve knowledge for women and come to a consensus on infant feeding in HIV in Canada,” says Dr. Khan.

So far, Dr. Khan’s research has been fruitful. She has developed a questionnaire to assess knowledge, practices and attitudes towards infant feeding in the HIV context for care providers. She has also received funding for a project focusing on attitudes of women with HIV towards infant feeding through the St. Michael’s Hospital Innovation Funds. Furthermore, Dr. Khan is working on a literature review to outline the current understanding of antiretroviral levels in breast milk, and potential adverse events in infants.

“I am hopeful this research will be seen as a priority in the HIV community,” she says, “and lays the groundwork for a comprehensive assessment of research priorities in infant feeding in the Canadian HIV context.” Dr. Khan’s fellowship award has been extended for another year to allow her to complete the analysis and publish her findings.

Dr. Khan is working with a multidisciplinary team of pediatric HIV specialists including Drs. Ari Bitnun and Stanley Read, Adult/Women’s HIV Specialist Dr. Mona Loutfy, and Obstetrician Dr. Mark Yudin. She received her MD at the University of Ottawa in 2009, following up with a paediatric residency at McMaster University, infectious diseases subspecialty training at the University of Toronto, and is currently a pursuing a Masters in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University.

Dr. Alexandra King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alexandra King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Local level pilot of intervention to link women transitioning from the criminal justice system to community care cascades

Year(s): 2014-2015

Dr. King’s research focuses on Indigenous women, a key HIV-risk population. Her particular research project under the umbrella of the CTN’s Postdoctoral Fellowship aimed at improving the lives of First Nations women transitioning into communities, following their release from the criminal justice system in British Columbia.

“Women who transition to community after release from incarceration…face numerous challenges in being linked with, accessing, and receiving social and clinical services,” says Dr. King. In particular, “there is a longstanding over-representation and over-classification of Indigenous women in the criminal justice system.” As member of the Nipissing First Nation with mixed Indigenous and European ancestry, Dr. King feels very passionate about her research, and sees it as a way to bridge the health disparities between Canada’s Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people.

Her research answers the need for a comprehensive assessment of Indigenous women transitioning from the criminal justice system to community care cascades, and the implementation of interventions tailored to the needs of women in this situation.

A lifelong learner, Dr. King first graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 1994 with a BBA in Finance and Economics. She later changed her focus towards medicine, completing her MD at the University of Toronto in 2009 and following up with a Core Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Alberta. She is currently studying towards her PhD at Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Hakimeh Mohammadi

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hakimeh Mohammadi

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Understanding the impact of protease inhibitors on placenta formation and pregnancy outcome

Year(s): 2014-2015

Dr. Hakimeh Mohammadi research focuses on pregnant women living with HIV, an area that has received insufficient attention since the development of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). In particular, she seeks to compare placenta formation and other pregnancy-related characteristics in HIV-negative women, as well as women with HIV receiving protease inhibitors (PIs), and non-PI ART regimens.

“cART has significantly reduced mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, but is associated with increased adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm delivery,” says Dr. Mohammadi. Furthermore, “studies indicate that the incidence of these unwanted outcomes is higher in women with HIV receiving PIs as part of their cART regimen.”

The outcomes of this research will help shed light on the role of PIs on placenta-forming and angiogenic processes during pregnancy, and their impact on pregnancy outcomes. The findings can then be subsequently applied to update or establish new guidelines for antiretroviral use during pregnancy, and help improve the clinical management of pregnant women with HIV.

Dr. Mohammadi received her Master of Science in Medical Virology at the University of Tehran, Iran, and further developed her knowledge of viral pathogenesis at the Influenza Unit of the Pasteur Institute of Iran. She then moved to Canada to work on her PhD in Virology at the University of Guelph, Ontario. She currently works at the Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI).

Dr. Wei Cao

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Wei Cao

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Study of patient characteristics associated with early ART initiation in patients participating in the primary HIV infection study

Year(s): 2014-2015

Dr. Wei Cao was the CTN International Postdoctoral Fellow for 2014-2015. A physician from Beijing, China, she worked closely with Vaccines and Immunotherapies Core co-lead Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy in Montreal during her fellowship. Dr. Cao’s research focus is on the acute and early phases of HIV, an area she feels has been underrepresented. “In my clinic and lab in China, we have established large cohorts of people living with HIV, but the study of early infection has just started,” she notes.

Under the guidance of Dr. Routy and the CTN 257 study team, she has reviewed recent progress in understanding primary HIV infection and the effect of early ART on immune functions and talent reservoirs. They currently have a paper on their findings under review.

Dr. Cao looks forward to bringing her experiences as a CTN fellow back to Beijing. “Working with the Montreal primary HIV infection (PHI) cohort has provided valuable insights for our future clinical practice and clinical studies in China.”

In addition, Dr. Cao also worked on a minor project; assessing HIV reservoir changes in HIV/HCV co-infected patients with sustained virologic response (SVR) following hepatitis C therapy.

Ms. Cao received her MD at the Peking Unon Medical College in Beijing, China, in 2008. Since then, she has done research work at the College’s HIV/AIDS Center.

Dr. Agnes Depatureaux

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Agnes Depatureaux

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: HIV-1 group O integrase: impact of genetic polymorphisms on Integrase Inhibitors resistance (lls) and on enzymatic activity

Year(s): 2013-2015

Dr. Depatureaux is a French researcher who now lives and works in Montreal, Quebec. Her CTN postdoctoral fellow research project looked at the impact of HIV-specific polymorphism variant HIV-1 group O on integrase inhibitor resistance and enzymatic activity.

HIV-1 group O is one of the 4 groups described for the HIV-1 subtype. The majority of HIV-O infections are diagnosed in Cameroon, and the overall scarcity of this HIV subtype makes it difficult to generate biological and clinical data.

“HIV-O shows high genetic diversity and contains an important natural polymorphism in the target regions for current antiretrovirals, in particular integrase inhibitors”, says Dr. Depatureaux. Integrase inhibitors are the latest class of antiretroviral drugs, characterized by their powerful and rapid effect, which has made them a popular treatment choice for HIV. As such, Dr. Depatureaux aims to test how the HIV-O strain responds to II-based therapy, as well as to analyze the enzymatic activity of integrase from this specific strain.

She hopes that her research will improve the treatment of the HIV-O strain, as well as advance the general study of HIV drug resistance.

Dr. Depatureaux began her studies in France, working at several universities and hospitals, like CHU Rennes and Rouen. She moved to Montreal, Quebec in 2012 to continue her training as a researcher and post doctoral fellow at McGill University’s AIDS centre at Jewish General Hospital. Her supervisor is Mark Wainberg, a CTN investigator and internationally-recognized HIV researcher.

Dr. Mary-Anne Doyle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mary-Anne Doyle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Preventing the Progression of Liver Fibrosis with Metformin in HCV-HIV co-infected patients with insulin resistance.

Year(s): 2013-2015

Dr. Doyle’s primary research interests lie in the the study of metabolic complications, like insulin resistance, in HIV and HCV mono and co-infected patients. Her particular research project for the postdoc program looked at preventing the progression of liver fibrosis with metformin in HCV-HIV co-infected patients with insulin resistance.

“The presence of insulin resistance among HCV-HIV co-infected individuals is well established”, says Dr. Doyle, and “is associated with poor HCV antiviral treatment response, as well as being a risk factor for progression of liver fibrosis.” However, no studies have been done to look at the effectiveness of Metformin – a common antidiabetic drug associated with improved HCV health outcomes – for HIV-HCV co-infected patients.

In addition to testing the influence of Metformin, Dr. Doyle’s study also provided counselling on lifestyle modifications.

Dr. Doyle’s research is highly important, given the evidence that insulin resistance plays a major role in predicting longterm outcomes in patients with chronic viral hepatitis and the effectiveness of antiviral therapy. Her long term goal is to combine her research findings with future development of novel, evidence-based models of care and management of endocrine disorders experienced by HIV and HCV-infected patients.

Dr. Doyle began her studies in England, later moving to Canada and receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree from McMaster University in 2005. She completed her residency at University of Ottawa’s Internal Medicine department and followed up with a certificate in Endocrinology and Metabolism, as well as a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology. Her postdoctoral supervisor is Dr. Curtis Cooper, a previous CTN postdoc fellow and co-leader of the CCD core.

Dr. Gamze Isitman

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Gamze Isitman

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Characterization of T cell and NK cell mediated immune response profiles in HIV infected Elite Controllers that are responsible for their spontaneous viral load control

Year(s): 2013-2014

Dr. Isitman is an Australian researcher who moved to Canada in 2012. She has a unique research focus in cellular immunology and molecular biology, and in particular the development of HIV vaccines.

Her CTN-funded research project looked at Elite Controllers (ECs) – individuals that are living with HIV, but maintain a high CD4 cell count without taking antiretroviral medication. ECs have been the focus of much research due to as their ability to control HIV infection; an understanding of these control mechanisms can lead to the development of new HIV therapies or vaccines.

Dr. Isitman hopes her study will further contribute to this understanding, and advance her goal of becoming a “leading international figure in the field of vaccine development, specializing in antibody-based immunity”. Her ultimate goal is to “make a major contribution to the generation of an effective HIV vaccine.”

Dr. Isitman began her studies in Australia, earning her PhD in HIV Immunology in 2012 at the University of Melbourne. She then moved to Canada, to study as a Postdoctoral Scholar at McGill University’s Department of Science Health Centre in Montreal.

Dr. Amy Slogrove

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Amy Slogrove

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: South African exposed uninfected infants: does in-utero HIV exposure contribute to increased infectious morbidity?

Year(s): 2013-2014

Dr. Amy Slogrove is a South African pediatrician working to better understand how HIV affects children, joining the postdoctoral program as an International Fellow in 2013. Her research was based in Cape Town, working at Stellenbosch University under the supervision of her local supervisor Dr. Mark Cotton, while her Canadian supervisor is CTN’s Dr. Joel Singer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

South Africa is relatively well off compared to the rest of Africa, says Dr. Slogrove, but next to similar economies such as Brazil or Indonesia, a greater number of South African children die before their fifth birthdays. In addition, 30 per cent of pregnant women in South Africa are also living with HIV.

“This has always really bothered me,” she says. “At first it was tremendous that we were able to prevent HIV infection in babies born to HIV-positive moms, but we are finding significant consequences for these babies. Even though they are HIV uninfected, they are still at greater risk of general childhood infections such as pneumonia or diarrheal diseases, compared to babies that are born to HIV uninfected moms living in similar circumstances.”

With her CTN international fellowship, Dr. Slogrove will investigate what factors lead to these worse outcomes, and to tease out the difference between the effects of poverty and social circumstances, and the biological impacts of HIV exposure. Her study is enrolling HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers and their newborns from a single community obstetrical unit in Cape Town.

She is following the mother-infant pairs until the babies’ first birthdays to see how often they are hospitalized for infectious events. The participants from both groups come from similar disadvantaged neighbourhoods. She names breastfeeding avoidance (in order to prevent HIV transmission) as a potential health issue, while another concern is that the infants may develop differently immunologically since their immune systems were exposed to HIV and antiretroviral drugs in utero.

“My motivation is to start looking at HIV-exposed children,” she says, “but then to look more broadly at all children in South Africa, to help improve their health outcomes.”

Dr. Slogrove is currently finishing her PhD in Epidemoilogy & Biostatistics at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Sheetal Patel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Sheetal Patel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Developing community-based public health interventions that enhance access and utilization of HIV care services among injection drug users in Ottawa.

Year(s): 2013-2014

Dr. Patel’s postdoctoral research looked at developing community-based public health interventions that improve HIV care for injection drug users in Ottawa, under the leadership of her supervisor Dr. Mark Tyndall, the director of British Columbia’s Center for Disease Control.

“Despite major advances in antiretroviral therapy (ART), the uptake and retention of ART remains elusive for many, particularly for vulnerable populations like injection drug users IDUs),” says Dr. Patel. “This highlights the need for more effective and targeted community-based models of HIV care and treatment delivery.”

The overall aim of Dr. Patel’s project was to reduce the risk of HIV infection and improve HIV care among IDUs in Ottawa.

Dr. Patel currently works at Genentech, a biotechnology corporation, as an associate scientist. She previously worked for the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences – a health outcomes research organization based in St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, and also holds a PhD in Healthcare and Epidemiology.

Dr. Mohammad-Ali Jenabian

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mohammad-Ali Jenabian

Postdoctoral Fellow

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

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.

Dr. Jackson Kijumba Mukonzo

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Jackson Kijumba Mukonzo

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Optimization of efavirenz HIV treatment outcomes along Africans

Year(s): 2012-2013

Dr. Mukonzo is a Ugandan researcher at the University of Makerere, and the postdoctoral program’s international fellow for 2012-2013. His project looked at optimizing efavirenz (a common antiretroviral HIV drug) treatment outcomes among Africans.

Dr. Michelle Science

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Michelle Science

Postdoctoral Fellow

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

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.

Dr. Michael Clark

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Michael Clark

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The engagement of HIV-infected youth with health care services

Year(s): 2012-2013

Dr. Michael Clark is Paediatric Infectious Diseases specialist from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. His CTN fellowship project focused on the transition from paediatric to adult care for youth with perinatally acquired HIV infection.

“Although childhood death from AIDS has been markedly reduced in the current era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), barriers and challenges exist to transitioning HIV-infected adolescents to internal medicine-based care.” Dr. Clark identifies several of these barriers, such as mental health, sexual and reproductive health, socio-economic status, and stigma. Issues such as these impact adherence to HIV treatment, engagement with health care providers, and the patient’s overall health.

Research indicates that the probability of non-adherence with cART increases with age in adolescents; one study indicated that only 50% of interviewed adolescents followed full adherence with their treatment.

Moreover, while research on the transition of teenagers to adult HIV care has been done in the U.S., it cannot be applied well in the Canadian context. Dr. Clark hopes that his project will generate new knowledge to inform an enhanced model of care for adolescents and young adults living with HIV in Canada.

Dr. Clark received his MD from the University of Ottawa, and followed up with a residency in Paediatrics. He currently works at the Infectious Diseases Division of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Dr. Clark speaks 3 languages: English, French, and Spanish.

Dr. Adria Quigley

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Adria Quigley

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Action for Positive Brain Health Now: Ready, Set, Go

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Adria Quigley obtained her PhD from Dalhousie University in 2019, during which she worked closely with Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, and other communities to study the feasibility and impact of yoga on cognitive and physical function among people living with HIV. Dr. Quigley currently teaches Masters of Physiotherapy students at the Dalhousie School of Physiotherapy, while also working with neurological patients in a private clinic.

During her time as a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Quigley will test an innovative approach to enhance adherence to lifestyle interventions, building on feasibility evidence from pilot trials in CTN 273: Brain Health Now. The overall purpose of this research project is to understand, empower, and act to protect and improve brain health in HIV, in order to encourage patients to take charge of their brain health.

Prior to her PhD, Dr. Quigley obtained her BSc in Kinesiology, Exercise, and Sport Studies at the University of Saskatchewan, followed by her Master’s in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto. She has received a number of honours and awards including the College of Kinesiology Dean’s Medal and the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Graduate Scholarship. Her supervisors are Drs. Marie-Josee Brouillette and Nancy Mayo.

 

Dr. Elizabeth King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Elizabeth King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Severity and Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms in Women Living with HIV

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Elizabeth King is an MD currently gaining subspecialty training in Adult Infectious Diseases in the University of British Columbia fellowship program (due for completion in June 2020). She will be entering a Master of Health Sciences program at UBC in the fall.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. King will investigate the evolution of menopausal symptoms in women living with HIV. This project aims to provide much needed knowledge on the experience of menopause among women living with HIV and help inform a future randomized controlled trial of menopausal hormone therapy for this population.

Dr. King received her BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Northern British Columbia, followed by her MD at the University of British Columbia. She has four first author publications, including recent papers in JAIDS and AIDS, and has received several honors and awards, including the Willard Kitchen Memorial Grant and CIHR Women Health Mentorship Grant. Her supervisors are Drs. Melanie Murray and Mona Loufty.

Meaghan Thumath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Meaghan Thumath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Equity-oriented interventions to improve substance use disorder treatment

Year(s): 2020-2021

Meaghan Thumath is a registered nurse with extensive global experience. She will be joining us from the University of Oxford, UK, where she is currently working towards a PhD in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Ms. Thumath will develop and evaluate equity-oriented interventions to improve substance use disorder treatment for marginalized women in Canada. Through conducting this research, she aims to identify and understand differences in treatment outcomes by gender and identify factors associated with substance use-related mortality among marginalized women in Vancouver, Canada.

Ms. Thumath received her BSc from the University of British Columbia School of Nursing, and her Master of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has received several awards and honors, including a Trudeau Scholar Award and Summit Impact Fellowship Award. Her supervisor is Dr. Kate Shannon.

Dr. Elisabeth McClymont

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Elisabeth McClymont

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Viral Determinants of Natural Cytomegalovirus Transmission in Women Living with HIV

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Elisabeth McClymont has built a strong portfolio researching HPV infection and HPV vaccination in women living with HIV. During her PhD program, she was supervised by Dr. Deborah Money and worked on CTN 236.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, she will study CMV transmission among women living with HIV and their children. Through conducting this project, she aims to elucidate the dose dependence between CMV viral load of exposure and risk of CMV transmission, and describe CMV transmitted/founder viruses to determine if they display genotypic features that distinguish them from non-transmitted viruses. Findings will ensure that the parameters of a successful CMV vaccine are described not only for the general population, but also for women living with HIV, who are particularly vulnerable to CMV infection.

Dr. McClymont received her BA in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University, followed by her PhD in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences from the University of British Columbia. She has received a number of honors and awards, including a CAHR Academic Scholarship, ASTDA IUSTI Emerging Investigator, IDSOG Young Investigator of the Year, and Dr. Bernard Duval Award for Vaccination. Her supervisors are Drs. Isabelle Boucoiran and Soren Gantt.

Dr. Stéphane Isnard

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Stéphane Isnard

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Improving gut health in ART-treated people living with HIV

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Stéphane Isnard is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre in Montréal, investigating mucosal gut immunity in HIV. He is working under the supervision of Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy, Co-Lead of the CTN’s Vaccines and Immunotherapies Core.

As a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Isnard will work towards understanding the role of the gut mucosa in HIV pathogenesis and design clinical trials to counteract its negative effect in people living with HIV under antiretroviral therapy. To achieve this, he will further develop two CTN pilot studies: CTNPT 032 and CTNPT 038.

Dr. Isnard obtained his Bachelor degree in Cell Biology from Aix-Marseille University, France, followed by his Master’s degree in Immunology from Pierre and Marie Curie University, France. He completed his PhD at Paris Descartes University, France. He has published 14 papers, on three of which he was first author, plus over 30 abstracts. He has received several awards and honours, including an EMBO Young Investigator Award, a CAHR New Investigator Award, the IAS Domonique Dormont prize, and an IAS/ANRS Lange/Van Tongeren Prize. His supervisor will continue to be Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy.

Dr. Richard Mwamba Kabuya

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Richard Mwamba Kabuya

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A retrospective cohort study on ART outcomes and adherence at the Senkatana ART clinic in Lesotho

Year(s): 2020-2021

Dr. Richard Mwamba Kabuya is currently obtaining his Master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. For the past 6 years, Dr. Kabuya has been working at Botšabelo Hospital, an infectious diseases hospital that specializes in the clinical management of Tuberculosis and HIV.

As a CTN International Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Kabuya will investigate the treatment outcomes of HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) after 36 months on treatment in line with Lesotho’s ART Treatment Guidelines. The ultimate purpose is to develop a protocol for a trial to improve adherence and retention in care.

Dr. Kabuya received his Doctor in Medicine at the University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and his diploma in Clinical Management of TB and HIV at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His local supervisors are Drs. Simba Takuva and Alfred Musekiwa and his Canada-based supervisors are Drs. Lawrence Mbuagbaw and Lehana Thabane.

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Examining the implementation and potential expansion of an internet-based testing service for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez is a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow at the BC Centre for Disease Control and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Her work is based on applied research that focuses on the sociopolitical and equity dimensions of implementing online sexual health services.

At the CTN, her research project will examine how organizations are able to roll out and improve GetCheckedOnline (GCO), an internet-based testing service for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections currently available in British Columbia, Canada. Using institutional ethnography, Dr. Gómez-Ramírez aims to determine how to implement and expand GCO in fair and sustainable ways, and gain insight from healthcare and community stakeholders to understand the contextual obstacles and opportunities that have shaped the implementation and sustainability of GCO. She also hopes to gain insights into how sexual health services are implemented in general, and how to promote the equitable growth of digital health interventions.

Dr. Gómez-Ramírez obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Hispanic Language and Literatures at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She then pursued another Honors degree in Ethnology at the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico. She subsequently achieved her Master’s degree and PhD in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. She has been co-applicant in a CIHR-funded HIV Implementation Science Team Grant and a BCCDC Foundation for Public Health-funded Blue Sky Grant, and has received several fellowships and awards, including Canada’s SSHRC Vanier Graduate Scholarship and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Trainee Award. Finally, she has contributed to ten journal articles, two book chapters, six scientific abstracts, and three book reviews. Her supervisor is Dr. Mark Gilbert.

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A targeted loneliness intervention to improve safer sexual behaviour among gay, bisexual and other MSM

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Sessional Instructor in the Psychology Department at Ryerson University. She is also the National Team Manager for the Engage Study Team – a multi-site national study on the sexual health of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM).

As a CTN Postdoctoral Researcher, her project will involve collaborating with gbMSM community members in order to: (1) Understand which types of loneliness (emotional vs. social) are more common and have the greatest negative impact on HIV/STI risk and prevention behaviours among gbMSM; (2) Investigate whether PrEP and TasP play a mitigating role in gbMSM’s loneliness-related sexual risk-taking behaviours; (3) Develop a crossover trial to determine where emotion- or problem-focused coping strategy training is most effective for gbMSM experiencing social or emotional loneliness; (4) Develop a community-based, peer-led intervention that will promote community engagement, the development of effective coping strategies for loneliness, and safer sexual practices among gbMSM.

Dr. Skakoon-Sparling received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Psychology at the University of Guelph. She subsequently gained a Master’s degree in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Windsor and a PhD in Applied Social Psychology. She has received several grants and awards, including a CIHR Operating Grant, a CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant, and a Mitacs Accelerate Postdoctoral Research Grant. Finally, she has written involvement in 13 papers and 36 abstracts. Her supervisor is Dr. Trevor Hart.

Dr. Haneesha Mohan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Haneesha Mohan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The Impact of Exposure to Dolutegravir and other HIV Antiretrovirals during Pregnancy: Risks Associated with Neural Tube Defects and Impaired Metabolism

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Haneesha Mohan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University Health Network and has a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fellowships Award and a CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.

As a Postdoctoral Researcher for the CIHR and CTN, she will investigate the impact of exposure to dolutegravir (DTG) and other HIV antiretrovirals (ARVs) during pregnancy, assessing the risks associated with neural tube defects (NTD) and impaired metabolism. As a result of 2018 interim data from the Tsepamo study in Botswana, which reported a higher rate of NTD in women with DTG exposure at conception, the future of DTG was questioned. Maternal obesity and diabetes are recognized risk factors for NTD. DTG side effects include hyperglycemia, which may predispose women to NTD by altering metabolic homeostasis. Therefore, Dr. Mohan argues, “It is imperative that we confirm whether DTG, and other HIV ARVs used in pregnancy, is associated with NTD, and determine mechanistically how specifically DTG alters metabolic homeostasis.” Her study will provide key evidence on whether DTG, and other HIV ARVs used in pregnancy, is associated with NTD using an animal model. Her findings will aim to address critical gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the pathobiology of ARV-associated NTD and impaired metabolism, and help establish a rational basis for further evaluation of effective interventions and informed regimen selection in pregnancy.

Dr. Mohan earned her Bachelor of Life Science (Hons.) degree in Life Sciences with a Minor in Health Geography at McMaster University, and then pursued her PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in Integrative Neuroendocrinology. She has authored nine papers, two book chapters, and 19 abstracts. Finally, she has been awarded several grants and awards, including Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and Veterinary Biomedical Science (VBMS) Devolved Scholarships, and two consecutive Banting and Best Diabetes Centre (BBDC) Postdoctoral Fellowships in Diabetes Care, held at the Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Her supervisor is Dr. Lena Serghides.

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Geospatial analyses of data from the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CTN 262) CHIWOS and expansion to the Maritime Provinces

Year(s): 2018-2021

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Women’s College Research Institute at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto. Her research interests lie in the anthropology of health, social sciences, and women’s health, specifically women living with HIV in Canada.

During her fellowship, Dr. Medeiros will analyze the CTN 262 CHIWOS data, with an emphasis on the care disparities between rural and urban women living with HIV in Ontario. She hypothesizes that care disparities are greater for women living with HIV in rural areas and small cities compared with large centres that have specialized HIV care for women. As a second phase of her fellowship, she will expand the reach of CHIWOS into the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island to explore the experiences and health priorities of women living with HIV in these regions.

Dr. Medeiros completed her MA in Medical Anthropology at the University of New Brunswick and her PhD in Anthropology of Health at McMaster University. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Mona Loutfy.

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Examining the implementation and potential expansion of an internet-based testing service for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Oralia Gómez-Ramírez is a CTN Postdoctoral Fellow at the BC Centre for Disease Control and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Her work is based on applied research that focuses on the sociopolitical and equity dimensions of implementing online sexual health services.

At the CTN, her research project will examine how organizations are able to roll out and improve GetCheckedOnline (GCO), an internet-based testing service for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections currently available in British Columbia, Canada. Using institutional ethnography, Dr. Gómez-Ramírez aims to determine how to implement and expand GCO in fair and sustainable ways, and gain insight from healthcare and community stakeholders to understand the contextual obstacles and opportunities that have shaped the implementation and sustainability of GCO. She also hopes to gain insights into how sexual health services are implemented in general, and how to promote the equitable growth of digital health interventions.

Dr. Gómez-Ramírez obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Hispanic Language and Literatures at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She then pursued another Honors degree in Ethnology at the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico. She subsequently achieved her Master’s degree and PhD in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. She has been co-applicant in a CIHR-funded HIV Implementation Science Team Grant and a BCCDC Foundation for Public Health-funded Blue Sky Grant, and has received several fellowships and awards, including Canada’s SSHRC Vanier Graduate Scholarship and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Trainee Award. Finally, she has contributed to ten journal articles, two book chapters, six scientific abstracts, and three book reviews. Her supervisor is Dr. Mark Gilbert.

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A targeted loneliness intervention to improve safer sexual behaviour among gay, bisexual and other MSM

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Sessional Instructor in the Psychology Department at Ryerson University. She is also the National Team Manager for the Engage Study Team – a multi-site national study on the sexual health of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM).

As a CTN Postdoctoral Researcher, her project will involve collaborating with gbMSM community members in order to: (1) Understand which types of loneliness (emotional vs. social) are more common and have the greatest negative impact on HIV/STI risk and prevention behaviours among gbMSM; (2) Investigate whether PrEP and TasP play a mitigating role in gbMSM’s loneliness-related sexual risk-taking behaviours; (3) Develop a crossover trial to determine where emotion- or problem-focused coping strategy training is most effective for gbMSM experiencing social or emotional loneliness; (4) Develop a community-based, peer-led intervention that will promote community engagement, the development of effective coping strategies for loneliness, and safer sexual practices among gbMSM.

Dr. Skakoon-Sparling received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Psychology at the University of Guelph. She subsequently gained a Master’s degree in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Windsor and a PhD in Applied Social Psychology. She has received several grants and awards, including a CIHR Operating Grant, a CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant, and a Mitacs Accelerate Postdoctoral Research Grant. Finally, she has written involvement in 13 papers and 36 abstracts. Her supervisor is Dr. Trevor Hart.

Dr. Haneesha Mohan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Haneesha Mohan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The Impact of Exposure to Dolutegravir and other HIV Antiretrovirals during Pregnancy: Risks Associated with Neural Tube Defects and Impaired Metabolism

Year(s): 2019-2021

Dr. Haneesha Mohan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University Health Network and has a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fellowships Award and a CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award.

As a Postdoctoral Researcher for the CIHR and CTN, she will investigate the impact of exposure to dolutegravir (DTG) and other HIV antiretrovirals (ARVs) during pregnancy, assessing the risks associated with neural tube defects (NTD) and impaired metabolism. As a result of 2018 interim data from the Tsepamo study in Botswana, which reported a higher rate of NTD in women with DTG exposure at conception, the future of DTG was questioned. Maternal obesity and diabetes are recognized risk factors for NTD. DTG side effects include hyperglycemia, which may predispose women to NTD by altering metabolic homeostasis. Therefore, Dr. Mohan argues, “It is imperative that we confirm whether DTG, and other HIV ARVs used in pregnancy, is associated with NTD, and determine mechanistically how specifically DTG alters metabolic homeostasis.” Her study will provide key evidence on whether DTG, and other HIV ARVs used in pregnancy, is associated with NTD using an animal model. Her findings will aim to address critical gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the pathobiology of ARV-associated NTD and impaired metabolism, and help establish a rational basis for further evaluation of effective interventions and informed regimen selection in pregnancy.

Dr. Mohan earned her Bachelor of Life Science (Hons.) degree in Life Sciences with a Minor in Health Geography at McMaster University, and then pursued her PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in Integrative Neuroendocrinology. She has authored nine papers, two book chapters, and 19 abstracts. Finally, she has been awarded several grants and awards, including Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and Veterinary Biomedical Science (VBMS) Devolved Scholarships, and two consecutive Banting and Best Diabetes Centre (BBDC) Postdoctoral Fellowships in Diabetes Care, held at the Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Her supervisor is Dr. Lena Serghides.

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Geospatial analyses of data from the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CTN 262) CHIWOS and expansion to the Maritime Provinces

Year(s): 2018-2021

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Women’s College Research Institute at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto. Her research interests lie in the anthropology of health, social sciences, and women’s health, specifically women living with HIV in Canada.

During her fellowship, Dr. Medeiros will analyze the CTN 262 CHIWOS data, with an emphasis on the care disparities between rural and urban women living with HIV in Ontario. She hypothesizes that care disparities are greater for women living with HIV in rural areas and small cities compared with large centres that have specialized HIV care for women. As a second phase of her fellowship, she will expand the reach of CHIWOS into the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island to explore the experiences and health priorities of women living with HIV in these regions.

Dr. Medeiros completed her MA in Medical Anthropology at the University of New Brunswick and her PhD in Anthropology of Health at McMaster University. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Mona Loutfy.

Dr. Tivani Mashamba-Thompson

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Tivani Mashamba-Thompson

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: HIV Self-testing Delivery Approaches for Improving Urban Men’s Engagement with HIV Services in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Year(s): 2019-2020

Dr. Tivani Mashamba-Thompson is a Senior Lecturer and Academic Leader in the School of Nursing and Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her position involves many responsibilities, including the implementation of school research strategies, chairing the School Research and Higher Degrees Committee, and facilitating research-related staff development.

At the CTN, Dr. Mashamba-Thompson will conduct research to determine acceptable delivery approaches for HIV self-testing for urban men in South Africa. The study focuses on improving diagnosis and urban men’s engagement in HIV prevention and care in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. According to Dr. Mashamba-Thompson, “Evidence on acceptability of HIV self-testing in sub-Saharan Africa has suggested higher acceptability of HIV self-testing among men than women. As HIV self-testing has recently been introduced as part of the HIV services in South Africa, it is important to use appropriate delivery modes to maximize uptake and patient outcomes.”

Dr. Mashamba-Thompson obtained a Foundation degree in Health Sciences and Bachelor of Science (Hons.) degree at the University of Surrey, a postgraduate diploma at the University of Greenwich, and a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences and PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has received several grants and awards, including a South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA) PhD Fellowship and an African Doctorate Dissertation Research Fellowship. Finally, she has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and conducted several conference presentations and keynote speeches. Her supervisors are Drs. Lehana Thabane and Richard Lessells.

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The HAVARTI trial: Vedolizumab treatment in antiretroviral drug-treated chronic HIV infection, followed by analytical treatment interruption (HIV-ART-vedolizumab-ATI)

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty is currently enrolled in a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital. Her key research interests include HIV therapeutics (particularly immune-based) and HIV immunopathogenesis, with the ultimate aspiration of addressing issues in global health and improving the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV around the world.

During her fellowship, Dr. McGuinty will continue her work on the HAVARTI (CTN PT031) pilot study, analyzing the potential therapeutic benefit of vedolizumab, an anti-α4β7 integrin monoclonal antibody, on HIV viremia in HIV-positive, antiretroviral therapy-treated adults. She also intends to pursue research into the role of anti-α4β7 integrin monoclonal antibody in the treatment of HIV.

Dr. McGuinty completed her Bachelor’s degree (hons.) in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa and subsequently obtained her MD from McMaster University. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and specialty training in Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital. She has been the recipient of honours and awards including the Dr. Paul O’Byrne Award for Academic Achievement in Internal Medicine and the University of Ottawa Entrance Scholarship. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Bill Cameron.

Dr. Ronita Nath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ronita Nath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: To examine the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of men who have sex with men (MSM) around sexual behaviours in an attempt to better understand the drivers of syphilis and other bacterial STIs

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Ronita Nath is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Her research interests include working with vulnerable populations and the social determinants of health. She is passionate about researching at-risk populations, particularly street children who have used drugs and were active members of street gangs in New Delhi, India. Her enthusiasm to advocate for marginalized groups ensured she paid great attention to ethics, high-quality research, and statistics, thus conclusively proving that drop-in centres may have a positive impact on the physical and mental health, and substance use status, among street children.

Dr. Nath’s current research aims to reduce the vulnerability to STBBIs experienced by gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). During her time as a Postdoctoral Fellow, she hopes her research will improve the understanding of the drivers of bacterial STIs in British Columbia, and help more HIV-positive MSM in Canada and beyond. Her methodology proposes the use of mixed-methods design to investigate the causes of STBBIs among MSM.

Dr. Nath completed her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University. She then obtained her MPH in International Public Health from New York University, and completed her PhD in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Troy Grennan.

 

Dr. Kiffer Card

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kiffer Card

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Community-based interventions to optimize PrEP and TasP adherence among substance-using gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM)

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Kiffer Card is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE). His primary research interest lies in the study of theoretical and analytical methodologies most relevant to the research of physical, mental, and sexual health. He has also researched a myriad of issues regarding HIV risk, treatment as prevention, substance use, as well as physical and mental health. His resulting epidemiological public health expertise have provided him with the ability to conduct community-based research, with a goal of improving HIV-negative men’s adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV-positive men’s adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

During his time as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Card aims to investigate community-developed and empirically evaluated research targeting potential adverse patterns of substance use and HIV incidence among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM). Upon completion of his study, Dr. Card hopes to provide a greater understanding of “the particular mechanisms associated with their poor adherence.” He believes in the importance of “developing a community-based, peer-led, and socially supportive intervention that can promote ART adherence among HIV-positive men and PrEP adherence among at-risk HIV-negative men.”

Dr. Card completed his Bachelor’s degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Brigham Young University. He subsequently pursued his doctoral degree at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Robert S. Hogg. Finally, his PhD thesis focused on examining the social and technological factors associated with gbMSM sexual behaviour and HIV risk. He graduated in June 2018, while finishing his doctoral fellowship with BC-CfE.

Dr. Hudson Reddon

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hudson Reddon

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Investigating the impact of evolving cannabis access and use on HIV acquisition, transmission, and treatment outcomes

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Hudson Reddon is a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of British Columbia (UBC) at the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU).

During his fellowship with the CTN, Dr. Reddon evaluated how cannabis access and use impact high-risk substance use trajectories. This work included investigating how cannabis use influences infectious disease and overdose risks among early-stage substance users (e.g., injection drug use initiation), established injectors (e.g., injection frequency and injection cessation), as well as the impact of cannabis use on engagement with HIV and substance use treatment.

Dr. Reddon completed his graduate training at McMaster University in the department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He has received several honours and awards as an early career researcher including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Louis Minden Scholarship in Preventative Medicine, and was recently awarded a Michael Smith Foundation in Health Research Trainee award to support his postdoctoral work. Dr. Reddon is supervised by Dr. M-J Milloy who was recently appointed as UBC’s inaugural Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science.

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Geospatial analyses of data from the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CTN 262) CHIWOS and expansion to the Maritime Provinces

Year(s): 2018-2021

Dr. Priscilla Medeiros is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Women’s College Research Institute at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto. Her research interests lie in the anthropology of health, social sciences, and women’s health, specifically women living with HIV in Canada.

During her fellowship, Dr. Medeiros will analyze the CTN 262 CHIWOS data, with an emphasis on the care disparities between rural and urban women living with HIV in Ontario. She hypothesizes that care disparities are greater for women living with HIV in rural areas and small cities compared with large centres that have specialized HIV care for women. As a second phase of her fellowship, she will expand the reach of CHIWOS into the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island to explore the experiences and health priorities of women living with HIV in these regions.

Dr. Medeiros completed her MA in Medical Anthropology at the University of New Brunswick and her PhD in Anthropology of Health at McMaster University. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Mona Loutfy.

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The HAVARTI trial: Vedolizumab treatment in antiretroviral drug-treated chronic HIV infection, followed by analytical treatment interruption (HIV-ART-vedolizumab-ATI)

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Michaeline McGuinty is currently enrolled in a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital. Her key research interests include HIV therapeutics (particularly immune-based) and HIV immunopathogenesis, with the ultimate aspiration of addressing issues in global health and improving the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV around the world.

During her fellowship, Dr. McGuinty will continue her work on the HAVARTI (CTN PT031) pilot study, analyzing the potential therapeutic benefit of vedolizumab, an anti-α4β7 integrin monoclonal antibody, on HIV viremia in HIV-positive, antiretroviral therapy-treated adults. She also intends to pursue research into the role of anti-α4β7 integrin monoclonal antibody in the treatment of HIV.

Dr. McGuinty completed her Bachelor’s degree (hons.) in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa and subsequently obtained her MD from McMaster University. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and specialty training in Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital. She has been the recipient of honours and awards including the Dr. Paul O’Byrne Award for Academic Achievement in Internal Medicine and the University of Ottawa Entrance Scholarship. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Bill Cameron.

Dr. Ronita Nath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Ronita Nath

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: To examine the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of men who have sex with men (MSM) around sexual behaviours in an attempt to better understand the drivers of syphilis and other bacterial STIs

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Ronita Nath is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Her research interests include working with vulnerable populations and the social determinants of health. She is passionate about researching at-risk populations, particularly street children who have used drugs and were active members of street gangs in New Delhi, India. Her enthusiasm to advocate for marginalized groups ensured she paid great attention to ethics, high-quality research, and statistics, thus conclusively proving that drop-in centres may have a positive impact on the physical and mental health, and substance use status, among street children.

Dr. Nath’s current research aims to reduce the vulnerability to STBBIs experienced by gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). During her time as a Postdoctoral Fellow, she hopes her research will improve the understanding of the drivers of bacterial STIs in British Columbia, and help more HIV-positive MSM in Canada and beyond. Her methodology proposes the use of mixed-methods design to investigate the causes of STBBIs among MSM.

Dr. Nath completed her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University. She then obtained her MPH in International Public Health from New York University, and completed her PhD in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. Her supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Troy Grennan.

 

Dr. Kiffer Card

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kiffer Card

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Community-based interventions to optimize PrEP and TasP adherence among substance-using gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM)

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Kiffer Card is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE). His primary research interest lies in the study of theoretical and analytical methodologies most relevant to the research of physical, mental, and sexual health. He has also researched a myriad of issues regarding HIV risk, treatment as prevention, substance use, as well as physical and mental health. His resulting epidemiological public health expertise have provided him with the ability to conduct community-based research, with a goal of improving HIV-negative men’s adherence to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV-positive men’s adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

During his time as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Card aims to investigate community-developed and empirically evaluated research targeting potential adverse patterns of substance use and HIV incidence among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM). Upon completion of his study, Dr. Card hopes to provide a greater understanding of “the particular mechanisms associated with their poor adherence.” He believes in the importance of “developing a community-based, peer-led, and socially supportive intervention that can promote ART adherence among HIV-positive men and PrEP adherence among at-risk HIV-negative men.”

Dr. Card completed his Bachelor’s degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Brigham Young University. He subsequently pursued his doctoral degree at Simon Fraser University under the supervision of Dr. Robert S. Hogg. Finally, his PhD thesis focused on examining the social and technological factors associated with gbMSM sexual behaviour and HIV risk. He graduated in June 2018, while finishing his doctoral fellowship with BC-CfE.

Dr. Hudson Reddon

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hudson Reddon

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Investigating the impact of evolving cannabis access and use on HIV acquisition, transmission, and treatment outcomes

Year(s): 2018-2020

Dr. Hudson Reddon is a postdoctoral research fellow with the University of British Columbia (UBC) at the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU).

During his fellowship with the CTN, Dr. Reddon evaluated how cannabis access and use impact high-risk substance use trajectories. This work included investigating how cannabis use influences infectious disease and overdose risks among early-stage substance users (e.g., injection drug use initiation), established injectors (e.g., injection frequency and injection cessation), as well as the impact of cannabis use on engagement with HIV and substance use treatment.

Dr. Reddon completed his graduate training at McMaster University in the department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He has received several honours and awards as an early career researcher including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the Louis Minden Scholarship in Preventative Medicine, and was recently awarded a Michael Smith Foundation in Health Research Trainee award to support his postdoctoral work. Dr. Reddon is supervised by Dr. M-J Milloy who was recently appointed as UBC’s inaugural Canopy Growth Professor of Cannabis Science.

Dr. Alemayehu Amberbir

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alemayehu Amberbir

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Retention in care of patients initiated ART under “test-and-treat” strategy: A cohort analysis of data from real-life settings in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe

Postdoc Year(s): 2018-2019

Dr. Alemayehu Amberbir was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at Dignitas International in Zomba, Malawi. He is currently a Science Director at Partners in Hope, and staff at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, based in Malawi. His research interests lie in medical epidemiology and public health, focusing his efforts in rural and urban Malawi. In addition, he contributes to a myriad of research projects on implementing non-communicable disease (NCD) and HIV care, such as the Grand Challenges Canada NCD-HIV integration project and NIH-funded implementation research projects.

During his fellowship, Dr. Amberbir will investigate the retention in care of patients taking antiretroviral therapy under the “test-and-treat” strategy. The data will be collected and analyzed in Southern Africa, thus instigating a nuanced study.

Dr. Amberbir completed his MSc in Public Health at Jimma University. He subsequently received his PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health from the University of Nottingham. His supervisors for this fellowship are Drs. Adrienne Chan and Joep van Oosterhout.

Dr. Jun Chen

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Jun Chen

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Contribution of tryptophan metabolism in HIV inflammation and persistence

Year(s): 2018-2019

Dr. Jun Chen is an Infectious Disease Resident at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center. His primary research interest lies in the design and implementation of an immunotherapy aimed at controlling the size of the HIV reservoir.

During his fellowship, Dr. Chen will focus on assessing the relationship between indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) enzyme activity (kynureine/tryptophan ratio), persistent inflammation on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and size of HIV reservoir. He is also interested in conducting some additional analyses that could inform a clinical trial wherein an anti-IDO antibody is used as an immune checkpoint inhibitor aimed at reducing the size of the HIV reservoir.

Dr. Chen received his MD degree from Tianjin TCM University and his PhD from Fudan University. Over the course of his studies, Dr. Chen published a number of peer-reviewed papers and worked at Imperial College London for six months. His supervisor for this fellowship is Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy.

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Mathematical modeling of sexual co-transmission of hepatitis C and HIV in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with other men in Canada

Year(s): 2017-2019

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Her research interests lie in infectious disease epidemiology and how laboratory research can shape and inform clinical care and disease prevention at a population level, especially in the context of HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection.

During her fellowship, Dr. Moqueet will investigate the relationship between patterns of HIV seroadaptive behaviours and HCV transmission using both epidemiological methods and mathematical models. She is also interested in quantifying the roles of biological factors such as higher HCV infectiousness in persons living with HIV and seroadaptive behaviours in driving HCV transmission and understanding how these might impact the anticipated effectiveness of HCV treatment in reducing HCV.

Dr. Moqueet completed her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and obtained her PhD in Epidemiology from McGill University. Her supervisors for this fellowship are Drs. Sharmistha Mishra and Ann Burchell.

Dr. Kayode Balogun

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kayode Balogun

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A lipidomics approach to identify biomarkers and nutritional interventions to improve birth outcomes in HIV-positive pregnancy. 

Year(s): 2017-2019

Dr. Kayode Balogun is a postdoctorate fellow at the Toronto General Research Institute. His research interests concern maternal and infant health in the face of infection, and he is interested in understanding how an adverse in utero environment caused by HIV contributes to adverse birth outcomes and fetal developmental programming, with a goal of identifying biomarkers and interventions to improve birth outcomes in high risk pregnancy.

Dr. Balogun’s current research investigates the impact of in utero exposure to hIV antiretrovirals on fetal development and neurocognitive performance. During his time as a postdoctorate fellow, he aims to understand the mechanisms involved in the adverse outcomes associated with the use of HIV antiretrovirals during pregnancy using clinical samples collected from HIV-positive and HIV-negative pregnant women and validated using in vitro animal models.

Dr. Balogun completed his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Lagos State University, Nigeria. He then went on to obtain his MSc from in biomedical science from the University of East London, and completed his PhD in biochemistry from Memorial University in 2015. His supervisors for this fellowship will be Drs. Lena Serghides and Sharon Walmsley.

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Mathematical modeling of sexual co-transmission of hepatitis C and HIV in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with other men in Canada

Year(s): 2017-2019

Dr. Nasheed Moqueet is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Her research interests lie in infectious disease epidemiology and how laboratory research can shape and inform clinical care and disease prevention at a population level, especially in the context of HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-infection.

During her fellowship, Dr. Moqueet will investigate the relationship between patterns of HIV seroadaptive behaviours and HCV transmission using both epidemiological methods and mathematical models. She is also interested in quantifying the roles of biological factors such as higher HCV infectiousness in persons living with HIV and seroadaptive behaviours in driving HCV transmission and understanding how these might impact the anticipated effectiveness of HCV treatment in reducing HCV.

Dr. Moqueet completed her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and obtained her PhD in Epidemiology from McGill University. Her supervisors for this fellowship are Drs. Sharmistha Mishra and Ann Burchell.

Dr. Kayode Balogun

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kayode Balogun

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: A lipidomics approach to identify biomarkers and nutritional interventions to improve birth outcomes in HIV-positive pregnancy. 

Year(s): 2017-2019

Dr. Kayode Balogun is a postdoctorate fellow at the Toronto General Research Institute. His research interests concern maternal and infant health in the face of infection, and he is interested in understanding how an adverse in utero environment caused by HIV contributes to adverse birth outcomes and fetal developmental programming, with a goal of identifying biomarkers and interventions to improve birth outcomes in high risk pregnancy.

Dr. Balogun’s current research investigates the impact of in utero exposure to hIV antiretrovirals on fetal development and neurocognitive performance. During his time as a postdoctorate fellow, he aims to understand the mechanisms involved in the adverse outcomes associated with the use of HIV antiretrovirals during pregnancy using clinical samples collected from HIV-positive and HIV-negative pregnant women and validated using in vitro animal models.

Dr. Balogun completed his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Lagos State University, Nigeria. He then went on to obtain his MSc from in biomedical science from the University of East London, and completed his PhD in biochemistry from Memorial University in 2015. His supervisors for this fellowship will be Drs. Lena Serghides and Sharon Walmsley.

Dr. Mamadou Kaba

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mamadou Kaba

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The nasopharyngeal fungal microbiota in HIV-exposed uninfected and HIV non-exposed children with and without lower respiratory diseases

Year(s): 2017-2018

Dr. Mamadou Kaba is a CTN International Fellow residing in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a clinician-scientist who currently holds a position as a Wellcome Trust Training Fellow in the Division of Medical Microbiology at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Kaba’s research interests include the study of the contribution of microbial community to human health.

Through his fellowship, Dr. Kaba hopes to use the results of his study to contribute to a better understanding of the role and interaction of the nasopharyngeal microbiota in the development of acute to severe childhood lower respiratory illnesses. Dr. Kaba will also look at the differences in the microbial community between HIV-exposed and unexposed children and assess whether this impacts lower respiratory diseases. Future research could then lead to a better understanding of the ‘complete’ microbial etiology of respiratory diseases of childhood to guide therapy regimens for improved patient care management.

Dr. Kaba received his medical degree from the University of Conakry, Guinea. He also holds a MSc and a PhD, both in infectious diseases, from Aix-Marseille University, France. His supervisors for his fellowship are Prof. Lehana Thabane (McMaster University, Canada) and Prof. Mark P. Nicol (University of Cape Town, South Africa).

Dr. Nancy Nashid

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nancy Nashid

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Perinatally HIV infected youth transitioning to adult care: Experiences and attitudes informing best practice for transition

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nancy Nashid is a post-graduate fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto. Her current research looks at the transition from youth to adult care in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) among youth infected with HIV at birth or in early childhood. Her research is supervised by Drs. Ari Bitnun, Jason Brophy, and Stanley Read.

“My involvement with Refuge Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health and advocacy work with Hamilton’s inner city youth through the Catholic Children’s Aid Society were eye-opening experiences for me, as I witnessed firsthand the stigma facing young people living with HIV,” says Dr. Nancy Nashid.

The lack of scientific evidence on how to best care for youth transitioning to adult care presents a challenge for HIV care providers. Studies have highlighted experiences in other high-income countries, but with differing health care systems the extent to which their findings apply to Canada is unknown. A 2007 report estimated that 300 HIV-positive children and adolescents were being cared for in Canadian pediatric centres, half of which were aged 12-22.

Dr. Nashid’s research during her CTN fellowship will explore the experiences of HIV-positive youth in the GTA in their transition from pediatric to adult care. It aims to describe the clinical and health outcomes of this group as well as predictors of successful transition. She hopes to contribute to the development of evidence-based guidelines on this subject.

Dr. Nashid completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences and Doctor of Medicine, as well as post-graduate Pediatric Residency Training, at McMaster University.

Dr. Nadine Kronfli

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nadine Kronfli

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Projects:

  • Hepatic fibrosis progression in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infection: The effect of iron-deficiency anemia among co-infected women
  • Hepatic fibrosis progression in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infection: The effect of estrogen among co-infected women

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nadine Kronfli is a member of the CTN’s Prevention and Vulnerable Population’s Women’s Working Group, which is involved in the care of women living with HIV across Canada. She has “a longstanding interest in women living with HIV,” and says that “the best way to shape policy is by being at the forefront of clinical research.”

She has authored several abstracts using data from CTN 262: CHIWOS, the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study, a longitudinal study that evaluates the success of women-centred HIV/AIDS services. Her CHIWOS research has primarily focused on the cascade of care, with particular attention to access to and retention in HIV care for Canadian women living with HIV. Her postdoctoral project, supervised by Dr. Marina Klein (McGill University Health Centre), will “put women at the forefront of research.”

Her projects will aim is to determine the role of iron-deficiency and estrogen-deficient states on the progression of liver fibrosis in HIV/hepatitis C co-infected Canadian women. Fibrosis progression remains an important topic of research even in the era of direct-acting antivirals. Many patients remain untreated due to the prohibitive cost of therapy and fibrosis restrictions. In addition, despite successful treatment, hepatic fibrosis may not regress completely. As such, Dr. Kronfli believes it is important to study other modifiable risk factors that may impact liver disease in the long-term, even among individuals who have been successfully treated. The hope is to then explore the role of iron supplementation and hormone replacement on the progression of liver fibrosis in interventional studies.

Dr. Kronfli completed a Bachelor of Science at McGill University, a Master of Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health, a Medical Doctorate at the University of Ottawa, and fellowships at both McMaster University (Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases) and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (HIV Care). She recently obtained her Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt in Lima, Peru. At the University of Ottawa, she opted for the francophone stream of the medical program in order to be able to “serve in any corner of Canada as well as much of the world.” She begins her postdoctoral fellowship on July 1, 2016.

Dr. Nisha Andany

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nisha Andany

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women in Ontario

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nisha Andany is working towards a career as an academic Infectious Diseases specialist with a focus on preventative medicine and co-infections within the HIV-positive population.

“Because my undergraduate degree was in health sciences, I have a strong interest in preventative medicine.” Through studies dealing with HIV-positive women that she worked while at medical school, she also developed “an interest in the areas of co-infections and prevention, specifically within HIV-positive individuals.”

Her current research is focused on the incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women. “Cervical dysplasia and cancer, caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), is a significant health burden among women, despite the fact that it is preventable with proper screening. Screening is essential for all women, but especially for women living with HIV.”

Cervical dysplasia and cancer are more common and aggressive in women with HIV due to the impairment of their immune system. Dr. Andany’s work will seek to study access to and rates of cancer screening and follow-up for HIV-positive women in Ontario. It aims to estimate the annual incidence of cervical cancer and address the gap in knowledge needed to create screening guidelines for HIV-positive women.

Dr. Andany earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree at the University of Waterloo before completing her Doctor of Medicine and specialty certifications in General Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases at the University of Toronto. She was a research student at both the Women’s College Research Institute and the Mount Sinai Hospital, both in Toronto. Dr. Mona Loutfy (Women’s College Research Institute) will supervise her postdoctoral fellowship.

Dr. Malika Sharma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Malika Sharma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Building healthcare capacity and patient empowerment through Patient-Initiated Continuing Medical Education (PICME) on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Malika Sharma is currently pursuing a Master of Education at the University of Toronto.

Her research involves a patient-initiated Continuing Medical Education (CME) approach as a strategy to decentralize the delivery of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) education. Her study empowers patients to inform their primary care givers about a CME course on PrEP.

“I am looking to amplify the patient’s voice and to engage patients in research and education in a meaningful way,” says Dr. Sharma.

The immediate goal of Dr. Sharma’s study is to assess the number of individuals receiving PrEP as a result of CME. She will evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based CME program in increasing the ability of primary care providers to provide PrEP. Her supervisor is Dr. Darrell Tan (St. Michael’s Hospital).

In 2014, there were over 2,500 new HIV infections in Canada. According to two recent studies, PROUD and IPERGAY (CTN 268), PrEP can prevent the risk of acquiring HIV by 86%, yet use remains low despite patient demand. Survey results have demonstrated that primary care providers feel they lack the knowledge and capacity to deliver PrEP. As a result, PrEP is most often prescribed by HIV specialists, resulting in wait times as long as 51 days.

Dr. Sharma earned her Bachelor of Health Sciences and Doctor of Medicine at McMaster University before going on to further projects at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Chelsea Elwood

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Chelsea Elwood

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The role of HIV and the vaginal microbiome in triggering preterm birth and shaping the infant microbiome

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Elwood attended secondary school in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and then went on to earn a Bachelor and Master of Science at the University of Western Ontario before returning to BC where she completed her Medical Doctorate at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on HIV in pregnancy.

“I am hoping to work in the field of reproductive infectious disease, caring for HIV-positive women by meeting their reproductive health needs and driving research to improve their care.”

Her CTN postdoctoral study aims to evaluate the causes of the increased rate of preterm births in women living with HIV compared with the general population.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in the world. Despite antiretroviral therapies being very effective at decreasing the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission, HIV-positive women are still 1.5 to 2.5 times more at risk of preterm birth. The preterm birth rate for HIV-positive women in BC is 16-19%, more than twice the Canadian average for HIV-negative women.

The aim of Dr. Elwood’s research is to evaluate the vaginal microbiome in HIV-positive women who deliver both at term and preterm, in an effort to better understand possible causation. Dr. Elwood will also evaluate the impact of HIV status in shaping the intestinal microbiome of infants born to HIV-positive women both term and pre-term. This is a subgroup analysis of the second objective of CTN 291 – Preterm birth in HIV-positive pregnancies. Her supervisor will be Dr. Deborah Money in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Nancy Nashid

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nancy Nashid

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Perinatally HIV infected youth transitioning to adult care: Experiences and attitudes informing best practice for transition

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nancy Nashid is a post-graduate fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children at the University of Toronto. Her current research looks at the transition from youth to adult care in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) among youth infected with HIV at birth or in early childhood. Her research is supervised by Drs. Ari Bitnun, Jason Brophy, and Stanley Read.

“My involvement with Refuge Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health and advocacy work with Hamilton’s inner city youth through the Catholic Children’s Aid Society were eye-opening experiences for me, as I witnessed firsthand the stigma facing young people living with HIV,” says Dr. Nancy Nashid.

The lack of scientific evidence on how to best care for youth transitioning to adult care presents a challenge for HIV care providers. Studies have highlighted experiences in other high-income countries, but with differing health care systems the extent to which their findings apply to Canada is unknown. A 2007 report estimated that 300 HIV-positive children and adolescents were being cared for in Canadian pediatric centres, half of which were aged 12-22.

Dr. Nashid’s research during her CTN fellowship will explore the experiences of HIV-positive youth in the GTA in their transition from pediatric to adult care. It aims to describe the clinical and health outcomes of this group as well as predictors of successful transition. She hopes to contribute to the development of evidence-based guidelines on this subject.

Dr. Nashid completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences and Doctor of Medicine, as well as post-graduate Pediatric Residency Training, at McMaster University.

Dr. Nadine Kronfli

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nadine Kronfli

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Projects:

  • Hepatic fibrosis progression in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infection: The effect of iron-deficiency anemia among co-infected women
  • Hepatic fibrosis progression in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infection: The effect of estrogen among co-infected women

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nadine Kronfli is a member of the CTN’s Prevention and Vulnerable Population’s Women’s Working Group, which is involved in the care of women living with HIV across Canada. She has “a longstanding interest in women living with HIV,” and says that “the best way to shape policy is by being at the forefront of clinical research.”

She has authored several abstracts using data from CTN 262: CHIWOS, the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study, a longitudinal study that evaluates the success of women-centred HIV/AIDS services. Her CHIWOS research has primarily focused on the cascade of care, with particular attention to access to and retention in HIV care for Canadian women living with HIV. Her postdoctoral project, supervised by Dr. Marina Klein (McGill University Health Centre), will “put women at the forefront of research.”

Her projects will aim is to determine the role of iron-deficiency and estrogen-deficient states on the progression of liver fibrosis in HIV/hepatitis C co-infected Canadian women. Fibrosis progression remains an important topic of research even in the era of direct-acting antivirals. Many patients remain untreated due to the prohibitive cost of therapy and fibrosis restrictions. In addition, despite successful treatment, hepatic fibrosis may not regress completely. As such, Dr. Kronfli believes it is important to study other modifiable risk factors that may impact liver disease in the long-term, even among individuals who have been successfully treated. The hope is to then explore the role of iron supplementation and hormone replacement on the progression of liver fibrosis in interventional studies.

Dr. Kronfli completed a Bachelor of Science at McGill University, a Master of Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health, a Medical Doctorate at the University of Ottawa, and fellowships at both McMaster University (Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases) and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (HIV Care). She recently obtained her Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt in Lima, Peru. At the University of Ottawa, she opted for the francophone stream of the medical program in order to be able to “serve in any corner of Canada as well as much of the world.” She begins her postdoctoral fellowship on July 1, 2016.

Dr. Nisha Andany

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nisha Andany

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women in Ontario

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Nisha Andany is working towards a career as an academic Infectious Diseases specialist with a focus on preventative medicine and co-infections within the HIV-positive population.

“Because my undergraduate degree was in health sciences, I have a strong interest in preventative medicine.” Through studies dealing with HIV-positive women that she worked while at medical school, she also developed “an interest in the areas of co-infections and prevention, specifically within HIV-positive individuals.”

Her current research is focused on the incidence and management of cervical pre-cancers and cancers among HIV-positive women. “Cervical dysplasia and cancer, caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), is a significant health burden among women, despite the fact that it is preventable with proper screening. Screening is essential for all women, but especially for women living with HIV.”

Cervical dysplasia and cancer are more common and aggressive in women with HIV due to the impairment of their immune system. Dr. Andany’s work will seek to study access to and rates of cancer screening and follow-up for HIV-positive women in Ontario. It aims to estimate the annual incidence of cervical cancer and address the gap in knowledge needed to create screening guidelines for HIV-positive women.

Dr. Andany earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree at the University of Waterloo before completing her Doctor of Medicine and specialty certifications in General Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases at the University of Toronto. She was a research student at both the Women’s College Research Institute and the Mount Sinai Hospital, both in Toronto. Dr. Mona Loutfy (Women’s College Research Institute) will supervise her postdoctoral fellowship.

Dr. Malika Sharma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Malika Sharma

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Building healthcare capacity and patient empowerment through Patient-Initiated Continuing Medical Education (PICME) on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Malika Sharma is currently pursuing a Master of Education at the University of Toronto.

Her research involves a patient-initiated Continuing Medical Education (CME) approach as a strategy to decentralize the delivery of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) education. Her study empowers patients to inform their primary care givers about a CME course on PrEP.

“I am looking to amplify the patient’s voice and to engage patients in research and education in a meaningful way,” says Dr. Sharma.

The immediate goal of Dr. Sharma’s study is to assess the number of individuals receiving PrEP as a result of CME. She will evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based CME program in increasing the ability of primary care providers to provide PrEP. Her supervisor is Dr. Darrell Tan (St. Michael’s Hospital).

In 2014, there were over 2,500 new HIV infections in Canada. According to two recent studies, PROUD and IPERGAY (CTN 268), PrEP can prevent the risk of acquiring HIV by 86%, yet use remains low despite patient demand. Survey results have demonstrated that primary care providers feel they lack the knowledge and capacity to deliver PrEP. As a result, PrEP is most often prescribed by HIV specialists, resulting in wait times as long as 51 days.

Dr. Sharma earned her Bachelor of Health Sciences and Doctor of Medicine at McMaster University before going on to further projects at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Chelsea Elwood

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Chelsea Elwood

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The role of HIV and the vaginal microbiome in triggering preterm birth and shaping the infant microbiome

Year(s): 2016-2018

Dr. Elwood attended secondary school in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and then went on to earn a Bachelor and Master of Science at the University of Western Ontario before returning to BC where she completed her Medical Doctorate at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on HIV in pregnancy.

“I am hoping to work in the field of reproductive infectious disease, caring for HIV-positive women by meeting their reproductive health needs and driving research to improve their care.”

Her CTN postdoctoral study aims to evaluate the causes of the increased rate of preterm births in women living with HIV compared with the general population.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in the world. Despite antiretroviral therapies being very effective at decreasing the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission, HIV-positive women are still 1.5 to 2.5 times more at risk of preterm birth. The preterm birth rate for HIV-positive women in BC is 16-19%, more than twice the Canadian average for HIV-negative women.

The aim of Dr. Elwood’s research is to evaluate the vaginal microbiome in HIV-positive women who deliver both at term and preterm, in an effort to better understand possible causation. Dr. Elwood will also evaluate the impact of HIV status in shaping the intestinal microbiome of infants born to HIV-positive women both term and pre-term. This is a subgroup analysis of the second objective of CTN 291 – Preterm birth in HIV-positive pregnancies. Her supervisor will be Dr. Deborah Money in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Moleen Zunza

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Moleen Zunza

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Feasibility and effects of interactive weekly mobile phone text messaging versus usual care in promoting and sustaining continued breast-feeding by HIV-infected women in South Africa: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Year(s): 2016-2017

Dr. Moleen Zunza is an International Fellow from Zimbabwe. She has relocated to South Africa and is researching the effects of incorporating text messaging into physician communication with women living with HIV who are breastfeeding their newborn children.

It is known that HIV can be transmitted from mother-to-child throughout the duration of breastfeeding. Therefore, formula feeding is recommended for mothers living with HIV in the developed world. In the developing world, however, breastfeeding with antiretroviral therapy support is often recommended to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality associated with formula feeding.

In resource-limited settings, the dilemma of how women living with HIV should feed their infants has largely been resolved thanks to the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in preventing transmission. However, in the South African context, very few women choose breastfeeding. Dr. Zunza’s research seeks to examine the effectiveness of communication via text messages in addressing the social and contextual barriers to breastfeeding in South Africa.

As part of her fellowship, Dr. Zunza is running a pilot study to test the feasibility for a larger study of an interactive weekly mobile phone text message versus the standard of care in promoting sustained breastfeeding by women living with HIV. The study will recruit 60 participants over 12 weeks in primary healthcare clinics in Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Zunza earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Zimbabwe before moving to Stellenbosch University in South Africa where she completed a Master of Science and later a PhD in Maternal/Child Health. Her supervisors for her fellowship are, from Canada, Dr. Lehana Thabane (McMaster University), and in South Africa, Drs. Mark Cotton and Taryn Young (Stellenbosch University).

Zunza M, Cotton MF, Mbuagbaw L, Lester R, Thabane L. Interactive weekly mobile phone text messaging plus motivational interviewing in promotion of breastfeeding among women living with HIV in South Africa. Trials. 2017 July 17:18(331).

Dr. Hanh Thi Pham

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hanh Thi Pham

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Characterization of dolutegravir-resistant HIV with respect to its ability to establish latency and attain reactivation.

Year(s): 2015-2017

Dr. Pham began her studies in Vietnam, before coming to Canada in 2007 to complete her PhD in Biology at the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier in Quebec. She now conducts research at the McGill AIDS Centre under the supervision of Dr. Mark Wainberg.

Dr. Pham’s work is focused on the determination of whether dolutegravir-resistant HIV is different in regard to its ability to establish latency and attain reactivation from latency compared to wild-type viruses and others forms of drug resistant viruses. Secondary, she is evaluating the potential for viruses with reduced fitness due to dolutegravir resistance to be rescued by superinfection and/or recombination.

Dr. Hanh Thi Pham

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hanh Thi Pham

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Characterization of dolutegravir-resistant HIV with respect to its ability to establish latency and attain reactivation.

Year(s): 2015-2017

Dr. Pham began her studies in Vietnam, before coming to Canada in 2007 to complete her PhD in Biology at the INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier in Quebec. She now conducts research at the McGill AIDS Centre under the supervision of Dr. Mark Wainberg.

Dr. Pham’s work is focused on the determination of whether dolutegravir-resistant HIV is different in regard to its ability to establish latency and attain reactivation from latency compared to wild-type viruses and others forms of drug resistant viruses. Secondary, she is evaluating the potential for viruses with reduced fitness due to dolutegravir resistance to be rescued by superinfection and/or recombination.

Dr. Gisele Ngomba-Kadima

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Gisele Ngomba-Kadima

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Evaluation and improvement of adherence to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in HIV positive pregnant women in a low resource setting

Year(s): 2015-2016

Dr. Ngomba-Kadima is an international fellow from Lesotho, Africa. Her CTN-funded research looks at evaluating and improving the adherence to ART in pregnant women living with HIV in a low resource setting.

Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world – a staggering 23% of the population are living with HIV. Given the large number of women living with HIV in the country, Lesotho contributes greatly to the estimated 330,000 new HIV infections that occur yearly through vertical (mother to child) transmission. In 2013, the World Health Organization recommended initiation of combination ART (cART) for all infected pregnant or breast feeding women in Lesotho. The goal of this research project is to investigate and improve adherence to this type of care and therapy for HIV-positive pregnant women, in order to reduce the number of new vertical infections in Lesotho.

Dr. Ngomba-Kadima studied at the University of Kinshasa, Congo, before moving to Lesotho. Since then, she has worked at several hospitals, and now works as a family medicine doctor at Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital. Her Canadian supervisors are Drs. Lawrence Mbuagbaw and Lehana Thabane, and Dr. Kyaw Thin in Lesotho.

Dr. Margo Pearce

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Margo Pearce

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Recognizing and responding to barriers to HCV treatment among young Indigenous people

Year(s): 2015-2016

Dr. Margo Pearce is a grant writer and research coordinator for the Cedar Project, a prospective cohort study of young Indigenous people who used drugs in BC. Her postdoctoral project looks at identifying and understanding barriers to HCV treatment for young Indigenous people who use drugs in BC, particularly in Vancouver and Prince George.

Canadian data indicates that Indigenous people are vastly over-presented among people who inject drugs, and in turn among people living with HIV, HCV, and HIV-HCV coinfection. These issues are further exacerbated the low rates of treatment uptake among Indigenous people. For example, a 2008 study reported that out of 2500 patients in an HCV treatment program, only 1.7% were Indigenous. In particular, Indigenous youth appear to be more severely impacted.

To help tackle this situation, Dr. Pearce seeks to first identify and then address barriers to treating chronic HCV infection  among young Indigenous people who use drugs. She hopes that her research will have great significance for improving health outcomes.

Dr. Pearce recently defended her PhD in Health and Epidemiology from the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health. Her co-supervisors are Drs. Marina Klein and Robert Hogg.

Dr. Nathan Lachowsky

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Nathan Lachowsky

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Optimizing Adherence to Combination HIV Prevention for Younger Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, and Other Men who have Sex with Men

Year(s): 2015-2016

Dr. Lachowsky is a promising young researcher who has garnered much praise from his peers and supervisors. At only 27 years old, he is one of the youngest recipients of the Postdoctoral Fellowship. His research project will look at optimizing adherence of combination HIV prevention for men who have sex with men (MSM).

Combination HIV prevention is an HIV prevention approach developed and employed by the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS, seeking the drastically reduce rates of new HIV infections. In turn, “younger MSM are an important HIV prevention priority group, because their HIV incidence and prevalence rates are low, but increase markedly with age,” says Dr. Lachowsky.  Given the lack of research on this prevention strategy in Canada, Dr. Lachowsky aims to employ and evaluate combination HIV prevention among MSM below 30 years of age in the Metro Vancouver area.

Nathan and his supervisor Dr. Moore will develop a community-based research approach that will plan, design, deliver and trial an intervention to optimize combination HIV prevention for this specific at-risk group.

Dr. Lachowsky received a BsC at the University of Guelph, and followed up with a PhD in epidemiology before moving to BC in 2014. He is currently pursuing postgraduate studies at the University of British Columbia and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, under the guidance of Dr. David Moore. He has received numerous scholarships and awards, and completed the CIHR’s Universities Without Walls Fellowship Program. He is also a prolific writer, having already co-written 13 published academic papers, as well as 83 abstracts.

Dr. Connie Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Connie Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Probiotics  to improve gut health and immune function in people living with HIV

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Connie Kim is a PhD fellow from the University of Toronto with a focus on improving the long-term  care of people living with HIV. As Dr. Kim explains, “the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically reduced mortality and serious non-AIDS conditions in people with HIV…however they still have greater adverse health outcomes than their-age matched peers.” Her particular project as a CTN Postdoc focuses on the use of probiotics to improve gut health and immune function of people living with HIV.

“My doctoral work demonstrated that HIV significantly damages the gut mucosal barrier and reduces the number and function of key immune T cells…this damage results in the leaking of bacteria into the bloodstream, and in turn causes harmful effects.” This is especially important considering that recent studies have shown that the composition of the gut microbiota  can drastically impact human health.

Dr. Kim hopes that the addition of probiotics to ART for people living with HIV will accelerate gut immune function and reduce inflammation, helping bridge the health outcomes gap between HIV positive and HIV negative individuals of the same age.

Ms. Kim just recently defended her PhD on the impact of HIV on gut mucosal immunology in April of 2014. She received her Masters of Science in 2008 in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph.

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Assessment of geographic distance between Canadian HIV-infected individuals and their care-providers on treatment adherence and virologic suppression

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie is looking at the impact of geographic barriers to care on clinical outcomes in HIV in British Columbia and Canada.

Dr. MacKenzie’s research was inspired by her experience as a resident physician at the University of Manitoba. “The seemingly simple act of attending a medical appointment can be a huge challenge for people living in rural or remote communities. It can take over a day just to travel to the appointment,” she highlights.

She adds that “the lack of confidentiality in a small community, increased discrimination, the absence of services such as addiction treatment and mental health care, and HIV care-provider inexperience” can make geographic location a significant barrier for individuals living with HIV.

While research in the disparity of outcomes between rural and urban populations living with HIV is plentiful in the U.S., in Canada it is “an underexplored area that is extremely relevant, given our country’s large non-urban population and vast geographic size,” says Dr. MacKenzie. She hopes that her research will provide a better understanding of how rurality impacts HIV care, in turn allowing healthcare specialists to fine-tune the delivery of HIV care in rural and remote regions of Canada.

So far, the research indicates several differences between individuals living in rural versus urban regions, in terms of antiretroviral prescription patterns, as well as HIV care outcomes. For example, rural patients were found to have worse Programmatic Compliance Scores, a HIV-specific metric that is predictive of mortality among individuals starting antiretroviral therapy. Dr. MacKenzie’s Fellowship Award has been renewed for another year to allow her to further build on these findings.

Dr. MacKenzie obtained her MD at the University of Calgary, then moved to the University of Manitoba to complete residency training in Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases, and finally to the University of British Columbia where she is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health postgraduate degree, alongside her work at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Her postdoctoral co-supervisors are Drs. Julio Montaner and Mark Hull, two leading HIV researchers.

Dr. MacKenzie’s Publications

Dr. Sarah Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Sarah Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Infant feeding practices in HIV-infected mothers in Canada: Understanding the psychosocial, medical and biological context of breast feeding and breast-milk transmission

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Sarah Khan is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Khan focuses on pediatric HIV care, and her CTN-funded research aims to understand the biologic, psychosocial, and medical factors related to infant feeding practices for women living with HIV in Canada.

While guidelines in developed countries recommend exclusive formula feeding for women living with HIV, barriers to implementing this exist even in resource-rich Canada.

“As a pediatrician, I recognize the benefits of breastfeeding, and as a woman, I see the importance of women with HIV being informed and counselled on to the risks and benefits. I don’t think this issue is black and white in terms of legal or child protection implications,” says Dr. Khan.

Although there is a body of literature from low and middle-income countries regarding HIV transmission risk from breastfeeding, how much of this can be borrowed and applied to the Canadian context is unclear.

“I think my interest in paediatric HIV research stems from wanting to care not just for kids, but their families and communities,” she says. “Because paediatric care is a field that transcends generations, ethnicities, and communities, it is vital for a multicultural country like Canada to ensure we are providing the highest standard of evidence based care.”

The main goal of paediatric HIV care is to prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). “Maybe more can be done to ensure our patients are getting the best and safest care, perhaps we can help to reduce stigma, or improve knowledge for women and come to a consensus on infant feeding in HIV in Canada,” says Dr. Khan.

So far, Dr. Khan’s research has been fruitful. She has developed a questionnaire to assess knowledge, practices and attitudes towards infant feeding in the HIV context for care providers. She has also received funding for a project focusing on attitudes of women with HIV towards infant feeding through the St. Michael’s Hospital Innovation Funds. Furthermore, Dr. Khan is working on a literature review to outline the current understanding of antiretroviral levels in breast milk, and potential adverse events in infants.

“I am hopeful this research will be seen as a priority in the HIV community,” she says, “and lays the groundwork for a comprehensive assessment of research priorities in infant feeding in the Canadian HIV context.” Dr. Khan’s fellowship award has been extended for another year to allow her to complete the analysis and publish her findings.

Dr. Khan is working with a multidisciplinary team of pediatric HIV specialists including Drs. Ari Bitnun and Stanley Read, Adult/Women’s HIV Specialist Dr. Mona Loutfy, and Obstetrician Dr. Mark Yudin. She received her MD at the University of Ottawa in 2009, following up with a paediatric residency at McMaster University, infectious diseases subspecialty training at the University of Toronto, and is currently a pursuing a Masters in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University.

Dr. Connie Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Connie Kim

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Probiotics  to improve gut health and immune function in people living with HIV

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Connie Kim is a PhD fellow from the University of Toronto with a focus on improving the long-term  care of people living with HIV. As Dr. Kim explains, “the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically reduced mortality and serious non-AIDS conditions in people with HIV…however they still have greater adverse health outcomes than their-age matched peers.” Her particular project as a CTN Postdoc focuses on the use of probiotics to improve gut health and immune function of people living with HIV.

“My doctoral work demonstrated that HIV significantly damages the gut mucosal barrier and reduces the number and function of key immune T cells…this damage results in the leaking of bacteria into the bloodstream, and in turn causes harmful effects.” This is especially important considering that recent studies have shown that the composition of the gut microbiota  can drastically impact human health.

Dr. Kim hopes that the addition of probiotics to ART for people living with HIV will accelerate gut immune function and reduce inflammation, helping bridge the health outcomes gap between HIV positive and HIV negative individuals of the same age.

Ms. Kim just recently defended her PhD on the impact of HIV on gut mucosal immunology in April of 2014. She received her Masters of Science in 2008 in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph.

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Assessment of geographic distance between Canadian HIV-infected individuals and their care-providers on treatment adherence and virologic suppression

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Lauren MacKenzie is looking at the impact of geographic barriers to care on clinical outcomes in HIV in British Columbia and Canada.

Dr. MacKenzie’s research was inspired by her experience as a resident physician at the University of Manitoba. “The seemingly simple act of attending a medical appointment can be a huge challenge for people living in rural or remote communities. It can take over a day just to travel to the appointment,” she highlights.

She adds that “the lack of confidentiality in a small community, increased discrimination, the absence of services such as addiction treatment and mental health care, and HIV care-provider inexperience” can make geographic location a significant barrier for individuals living with HIV.

While research in the disparity of outcomes between rural and urban populations living with HIV is plentiful in the U.S., in Canada it is “an underexplored area that is extremely relevant, given our country’s large non-urban population and vast geographic size,” says Dr. MacKenzie. She hopes that her research will provide a better understanding of how rurality impacts HIV care, in turn allowing healthcare specialists to fine-tune the delivery of HIV care in rural and remote regions of Canada.

So far, the research indicates several differences between individuals living in rural versus urban regions, in terms of antiretroviral prescription patterns, as well as HIV care outcomes. For example, rural patients were found to have worse Programmatic Compliance Scores, a HIV-specific metric that is predictive of mortality among individuals starting antiretroviral therapy. Dr. MacKenzie’s Fellowship Award has been renewed for another year to allow her to further build on these findings.

Dr. MacKenzie obtained her MD at the University of Calgary, then moved to the University of Manitoba to complete residency training in Internal Medicine and Adult Infectious Diseases, and finally to the University of British Columbia where she is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health postgraduate degree, alongside her work at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Her postdoctoral co-supervisors are Drs. Julio Montaner and Mark Hull, two leading HIV researchers.

Dr. MacKenzie’s Publications

Dr. Sarah Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Sarah Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Infant feeding practices in HIV-infected mothers in Canada: Understanding the psychosocial, medical and biological context of breast feeding and breast-milk transmission

Year(s): 2014-2016

Dr. Sarah Khan is a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Khan focuses on pediatric HIV care, and her CTN-funded research aims to understand the biologic, psychosocial, and medical factors related to infant feeding practices for women living with HIV in Canada.

While guidelines in developed countries recommend exclusive formula feeding for women living with HIV, barriers to implementing this exist even in resource-rich Canada.

“As a pediatrician, I recognize the benefits of breastfeeding, and as a woman, I see the importance of women with HIV being informed and counselled on to the risks and benefits. I don’t think this issue is black and white in terms of legal or child protection implications,” says Dr. Khan.

Although there is a body of literature from low and middle-income countries regarding HIV transmission risk from breastfeeding, how much of this can be borrowed and applied to the Canadian context is unclear.

“I think my interest in paediatric HIV research stems from wanting to care not just for kids, but their families and communities,” she says. “Because paediatric care is a field that transcends generations, ethnicities, and communities, it is vital for a multicultural country like Canada to ensure we are providing the highest standard of evidence based care.”

The main goal of paediatric HIV care is to prevent mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). “Maybe more can be done to ensure our patients are getting the best and safest care, perhaps we can help to reduce stigma, or improve knowledge for women and come to a consensus on infant feeding in HIV in Canada,” says Dr. Khan.

So far, Dr. Khan’s research has been fruitful. She has developed a questionnaire to assess knowledge, practices and attitudes towards infant feeding in the HIV context for care providers. She has also received funding for a project focusing on attitudes of women with HIV towards infant feeding through the St. Michael’s Hospital Innovation Funds. Furthermore, Dr. Khan is working on a literature review to outline the current understanding of antiretroviral levels in breast milk, and potential adverse events in infants.

“I am hopeful this research will be seen as a priority in the HIV community,” she says, “and lays the groundwork for a comprehensive assessment of research priorities in infant feeding in the Canadian HIV context.” Dr. Khan’s fellowship award has been extended for another year to allow her to complete the analysis and publish her findings.

Dr. Khan is working with a multidisciplinary team of pediatric HIV specialists including Drs. Ari Bitnun and Stanley Read, Adult/Women’s HIV Specialist Dr. Mona Loutfy, and Obstetrician Dr. Mark Yudin. She received her MD at the University of Ottawa in 2009, following up with a paediatric residency at McMaster University, infectious diseases subspecialty training at the University of Toronto, and is currently a pursuing a Masters in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University.

Dr. Alexandra King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Alexandra King

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Local level pilot of intervention to link women transitioning from the criminal justice system to community care cascades

Year(s): 2014-2015

Dr. King’s research focuses on Indigenous women, a key HIV-risk population. Her particular research project under the umbrella of the CTN’s Postdoctoral Fellowship aimed at improving the lives of First Nations women transitioning into communities, following their release from the criminal justice system in British Columbia.

“Women who transition to community after release from incarceration…face numerous challenges in being linked with, accessing, and receiving social and clinical services,” says Dr. King. In particular, “there is a longstanding over-representation and over-classification of Indigenous women in the criminal justice system.” As member of the Nipissing First Nation with mixed Indigenous and European ancestry, Dr. King feels very passionate about her research, and sees it as a way to bridge the health disparities between Canada’s Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people.

Her research answers the need for a comprehensive assessment of Indigenous women transitioning from the criminal justice system to community care cascades, and the implementation of interventions tailored to the needs of women in this situation.

A lifelong learner, Dr. King first graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 1994 with a BBA in Finance and Economics. She later changed her focus towards medicine, completing her MD at the University of Toronto in 2009 and following up with a Core Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Alberta. She is currently studying towards her PhD at Simon Fraser University.

Dr. Hakimeh Mohammadi

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Hakimeh Mohammadi

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Understanding the impact of protease inhibitors on placenta formation and pregnancy outcome

Year(s): 2014-2015

Dr. Hakimeh Mohammadi research focuses on pregnant women living with HIV, an area that has received insufficient attention since the development of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). In particular, she seeks to compare placenta formation and other pregnancy-related characteristics in HIV-negative women, as well as women with HIV receiving protease inhibitors (PIs), and non-PI ART regimens.

“cART has significantly reduced mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV, but is associated with increased adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm delivery,” says Dr. Mohammadi. Furthermore, “studies indicate that the incidence of these unwanted outcomes is higher in women with HIV receiving PIs as part of their cART regimen.”

The outcomes of this research will help shed light on the role of PIs on placenta-forming and angiogenic processes during pregnancy, and their impact on pregnancy outcomes. The findings can then be subsequently applied to update or establish new guidelines for antiretroviral use during pregnancy, and help improve the clinical management of pregnant women with HIV.

Dr. Mohammadi received her Master of Science in Medical Virology at the University of Tehran, Iran, and further developed her knowledge of viral pathogenesis at the Influenza Unit of the Pasteur Institute of Iran. She then moved to Canada to work on her PhD in Virology at the University of Guelph, Ontario. She currently works at the Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI).

Dr. Wei Cao

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Wei Cao

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Study of patient characteristics associated with early ART initiation in patients participating in the primary HIV infection study

Year(s): 2014-2015

Dr. Wei Cao was the CTN International Postdoctoral Fellow for 2014-2015. A physician from Beijing, China, she worked closely with Vaccines and Immunotherapies Core co-lead Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy in Montreal during her fellowship. Dr. Cao’s research focus is on the acute and early phases of HIV, an area she feels has been underrepresented. “In my clinic and lab in China, we have established large cohorts of people living with HIV, but the study of early infection has just started,” she notes.

Under the guidance of Dr. Routy and the CTN 257 study team, she has reviewed recent progress in understanding primary HIV infection and the effect of early ART on immune functions and talent reservoirs. They currently have a paper on their findings under review.

Dr. Cao looks forward to bringing her experiences as a CTN fellow back to Beijing. “Working with the Montreal primary HIV infection (PHI) cohort has provided valuable insights for our future clinical practice and clinical studies in China.”

In addition, Dr. Cao also worked on a minor project; assessing HIV reservoir changes in HIV/HCV co-infected patients with sustained virologic response (SVR) following hepatitis C therapy.

Ms. Cao received her MD at the Peking Unon Medical College in Beijing, China, in 2008. Since then, she has done research work at the College’s HIV/AIDS Center.

Dr. Agnes Depatureaux

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Agnes Depatureaux

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: HIV-1 group O integrase: impact of genetic polymorphisms on Integrase Inhibitors resistance (lls) and on enzymatic activity

Year(s): 2013-2015

Dr. Depatureaux is a French researcher who now lives and works in Montreal, Quebec. Her CTN postdoctoral fellow research project looked at the impact of HIV-specific polymorphism variant HIV-1 group O on integrase inhibitor resistance and enzymatic activity.

HIV-1 group O is one of the 4 groups described for the HIV-1 subtype. The majority of HIV-O infections are diagnosed in Cameroon, and the overall scarcity of this HIV subtype makes it difficult to generate biological and clinical data.

“HIV-O shows high genetic diversity and contains an important natural polymorphism in the target regions for current antiretrovirals, in particular integrase inhibitors”, says Dr. Depatureaux. Integrase inhibitors are the latest class of antiretroviral drugs, characterized by their powerful and rapid effect, which has made them a popular treatment choice for HIV. As such, Dr. Depatureaux aims to test how the HIV-O strain responds to II-based therapy, as well as to analyze the enzymatic activity of integrase from this specific strain.

She hopes that her research will improve the treatment of the HIV-O strain, as well as advance the general study of HIV drug resistance.

Dr. Depatureaux began her studies in France, working at several universities and hospitals, like CHU Rennes and Rouen. She moved to Montreal, Quebec in 2012 to continue her training as a researcher and post doctoral fellow at McGill University’s AIDS centre at Jewish General Hospital. Her supervisor is Mark Wainberg, a CTN investigator and internationally-recognized HIV researcher.

Dr. Mary-Anne Doyle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mary-Anne Doyle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Preventing the Progression of Liver Fibrosis with Metformin in HCV-HIV co-infected patients with insulin resistance.

Year(s): 2013-2015

Dr. Doyle’s primary research interests lie in the the study of metabolic complications, like insulin resistance, in HIV and HCV mono and co-infected patients. Her particular research project for the postdoc program looked at preventing the progression of liver fibrosis with metformin in HCV-HIV co-infected patients with insulin resistance.

“The presence of insulin resistance among HCV-HIV co-infected individuals is well established”, says Dr. Doyle, and “is associated with poor HCV antiviral treatment response, as well as being a risk factor for progression of liver fibrosis.” However, no studies have been done to look at the effectiveness of Metformin – a common antidiabetic drug associated with improved HCV health outcomes – for HIV-HCV co-infected patients.

In addition to testing the influence of Metformin, Dr. Doyle’s study also provided counselling on lifestyle modifications.

Dr. Doyle’s research is highly important, given the evidence that insulin resistance plays a major role in predicting longterm outcomes in patients with chronic viral hepatitis and the effectiveness of antiviral therapy. Her long term goal is to combine her research findings with future development of novel, evidence-based models of care and management of endocrine disorders experienced by HIV and HCV-infected patients.

Dr. Doyle began her studies in England, later moving to Canada and receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree from McMaster University in 2005. She completed her residency at University of Ottawa’s Internal Medicine department and followed up with a certificate in Endocrinology and Metabolism, as well as a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology. Her postdoctoral supervisor is Dr. Curtis Cooper, a previous CTN postdoc fellow and co-leader of the CCD core.

Dr. Agnes Depatureaux

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Agnes Depatureaux

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: HIV-1 group O integrase: impact of genetic polymorphisms on Integrase Inhibitors resistance (lls) and on enzymatic activity

Year(s): 2013-2015

Dr. Depatureaux is a French researcher who now lives and works in Montreal, Quebec. Her CTN postdoctoral fellow research project looked at the impact of HIV-specific polymorphism variant HIV-1 group O on integrase inhibitor resistance and enzymatic activity.

HIV-1 group O is one of the 4 groups described for the HIV-1 subtype. The majority of HIV-O infections are diagnosed in Cameroon, and the overall scarcity of this HIV subtype makes it difficult to generate biological and clinical data.

“HIV-O shows high genetic diversity and contains an important natural polymorphism in the target regions for current antiretrovirals, in particular integrase inhibitors”, says Dr. Depatureaux. Integrase inhibitors are the latest class of antiretroviral drugs, characterized by their powerful and rapid effect, which has made them a popular treatment choice for HIV. As such, Dr. Depatureaux aims to test how the HIV-O strain responds to II-based therapy, as well as to analyze the enzymatic activity of integrase from this specific strain.

She hopes that her research will improve the treatment of the HIV-O strain, as well as advance the general study of HIV drug resistance.

Dr. Depatureaux began her studies in France, working at several universities and hospitals, like CHU Rennes and Rouen. She moved to Montreal, Quebec in 2012 to continue her training as a researcher and post doctoral fellow at McGill University’s AIDS centre at Jewish General Hospital. Her supervisor is Mark Wainberg, a CTN investigator and internationally-recognized HIV researcher.

Dr. Mary-Anne Doyle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mary-Anne Doyle

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Preventing the Progression of Liver Fibrosis with Metformin in HCV-HIV co-infected patients with insulin resistance.

Year(s): 2013-2015

Dr. Doyle’s primary research interests lie in the the study of metabolic complications, like insulin resistance, in HIV and HCV mono and co-infected patients. Her particular research project for the postdoc program looked at preventing the progression of liver fibrosis with metformin in HCV-HIV co-infected patients with insulin resistance.

“The presence of insulin resistance among HCV-HIV co-infected individuals is well established”, says Dr. Doyle, and “is associated with poor HCV antiviral treatment response, as well as being a risk factor for progression of liver fibrosis.” However, no studies have been done to look at the effectiveness of Metformin – a common antidiabetic drug associated with improved HCV health outcomes – for HIV-HCV co-infected patients.

In addition to testing the influence of Metformin, Dr. Doyle’s study also provided counselling on lifestyle modifications.

Dr. Doyle’s research is highly important, given the evidence that insulin resistance plays a major role in predicting longterm outcomes in patients with chronic viral hepatitis and the effectiveness of antiviral therapy. Her long term goal is to combine her research findings with future development of novel, evidence-based models of care and management of endocrine disorders experienced by HIV and HCV-infected patients.

Dr. Doyle began her studies in England, later moving to Canada and receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree from McMaster University in 2005. She completed her residency at University of Ottawa’s Internal Medicine department and followed up with a certificate in Endocrinology and Metabolism, as well as a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology. Her postdoctoral supervisor is Dr. Curtis Cooper, a previous CTN postdoc fellow and co-leader of the CCD core.

Dr. Gamze Isitman

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Gamze Isitman

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Characterization of T cell and NK cell mediated immune response profiles in HIV infected Elite Controllers that are responsible for their spontaneous viral load control

Year(s): 2013-2014

Dr. Isitman is an Australian researcher who moved to Canada in 2012. She has a unique research focus in cellular immunology and molecular biology, and in particular the development of HIV vaccines.

Her CTN-funded research project looked at Elite Controllers (ECs) – individuals that are living with HIV, but maintain a high CD4 cell count without taking antiretroviral medication. ECs have been the focus of much research due to as their ability to control HIV infection; an understanding of these control mechanisms can lead to the development of new HIV therapies or vaccines.

Dr. Isitman hopes her study will further contribute to this understanding, and advance her goal of becoming a “leading international figure in the field of vaccine development, specializing in antibody-based immunity”. Her ultimate goal is to “make a major contribution to the generation of an effective HIV vaccine.”

Dr. Isitman began her studies in Australia, earning her PhD in HIV Immunology in 2012 at the University of Melbourne. She then moved to Canada, to study as a Postdoctoral Scholar at McGill University’s Department of Science Health Centre in Montreal.

Dr. Amy Slogrove

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Amy Slogrove

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: South African exposed uninfected infants: does in-utero HIV exposure contribute to increased infectious morbidity?

Year(s): 2013-2014

Dr. Amy Slogrove is a South African pediatrician working to better understand how HIV affects children, joining the postdoctoral program as an International Fellow in 2013. Her research was based in Cape Town, working at Stellenbosch University under the supervision of her local supervisor Dr. Mark Cotton, while her Canadian supervisor is CTN’s Dr. Joel Singer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

South Africa is relatively well off compared to the rest of Africa, says Dr. Slogrove, but next to similar economies such as Brazil or Indonesia, a greater number of South African children die before their fifth birthdays. In addition, 30 per cent of pregnant women in South Africa are also living with HIV.

“This has always really bothered me,” she says. “At first it was tremendous that we were able to prevent HIV infection in babies born to HIV-positive moms, but we are finding significant consequences for these babies. Even though they are HIV uninfected, they are still at greater risk of general childhood infections such as pneumonia or diarrheal diseases, compared to babies that are born to HIV uninfected moms living in similar circumstances.”

With her CTN international fellowship, Dr. Slogrove will investigate what factors lead to these worse outcomes, and to tease out the difference between the effects of poverty and social circumstances, and the biological impacts of HIV exposure. Her study is enrolling HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers and their newborns from a single community obstetrical unit in Cape Town.

She is following the mother-infant pairs until the babies’ first birthdays to see how often they are hospitalized for infectious events. The participants from both groups come from similar disadvantaged neighbourhoods. She names breastfeeding avoidance (in order to prevent HIV transmission) as a potential health issue, while another concern is that the infants may develop differently immunologically since their immune systems were exposed to HIV and antiretroviral drugs in utero.

“My motivation is to start looking at HIV-exposed children,” she says, “but then to look more broadly at all children in South Africa, to help improve their health outcomes.”

Dr. Slogrove is currently finishing her PhD in Epidemoilogy & Biostatistics at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Sheetal Patel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Sheetal Patel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Developing community-based public health interventions that enhance access and utilization of HIV care services among injection drug users in Ottawa.

Year(s): 2013-2014

Dr. Patel’s postdoctoral research looked at developing community-based public health interventions that improve HIV care for injection drug users in Ottawa, under the leadership of her supervisor Dr. Mark Tyndall, the director of British Columbia’s Center for Disease Control.

“Despite major advances in antiretroviral therapy (ART), the uptake and retention of ART remains elusive for many, particularly for vulnerable populations like injection drug users IDUs),” says Dr. Patel. “This highlights the need for more effective and targeted community-based models of HIV care and treatment delivery.”

The overall aim of Dr. Patel’s project was to reduce the risk of HIV infection and improve HIV care among IDUs in Ottawa.

Dr. Patel currently works at Genentech, a biotechnology corporation, as an associate scientist. She previously worked for the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences – a health outcomes research organization based in St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, and also holds a PhD in Healthcare and Epidemiology.

Dr. Mohammad-Ali Jenabian

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mohammad-Ali Jenabian

Postdoctoral Fellow

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

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.

Dr. Mohammad-Ali Jenabian

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Mohammad-Ali Jenabian

Postdoctoral Fellow

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

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.

Dr. Jackson Kijumba Mukonzo

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Jackson Kijumba Mukonzo

International Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: Optimization of efavirenz HIV treatment outcomes along Africans

Year(s): 2012-2013

Dr. Mukonzo is a Ugandan researcher at the University of Makerere, and the postdoctoral program’s international fellow for 2012-2013. His project looked at optimizing efavirenz (a common antiretroviral HIV drug) treatment outcomes among Africans.

Dr. Michelle Science

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Michelle Science

Postdoctoral Fellow

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

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.

Dr. Michael Clark

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Michael Clark

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Project: The engagement of HIV-infected youth with health care services

Year(s): 2012-2013

Dr. Michael Clark is Paediatric Infectious Diseases specialist from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. His CTN fellowship project focused on the transition from paediatric to adult care for youth with perinatally acquired HIV infection.

“Although childhood death from AIDS has been markedly reduced in the current era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), barriers and challenges exist to transitioning HIV-infected adolescents to internal medicine-based care.” Dr. Clark identifies several of these barriers, such as mental health, sexual and reproductive health, socio-economic status, and stigma. Issues such as these impact adherence to HIV treatment, engagement with health care providers, and the patient’s overall health.

Research indicates that the probability of non-adherence with cART increases with age in adolescents; one study indicated that only 50% of interviewed adolescents followed full adherence with their treatment.

Moreover, while research on the transition of teenagers to adult HIV care has been done in the U.S., it cannot be applied well in the Canadian context. Dr. Clark hopes that his project will generate new knowledge to inform an enhanced model of care for adolescents and young adults living with HIV in Canada.

Dr. Clark received his MD from the University of Ottawa, and followed up with a residency in Paediatrics. He currently works at the Infectious Diseases Division of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Dr. Clark speaks 3 languages: English, French, and Spanish.