Announcing the Recipients of the 2017 New Investigator Awards

The University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Developmental Core is delighted to announce the recipients of this year's New Investigator Awards.

The purpose of the CFAR New Investigator Award program is to provide support ($45-$55,000/year for 1-2 years) to promising early career HIV/AIDS investigators. The NIA encourages junior investigators to conduct independent research, acquire preliminary data to use for external grant submissions, receive career mentorship, and write additional grants to obtain funding to continue their HIV research careers. NIAs are central to our CFAR mission and have been foundational to jump-starting the careers of many investigators at our consortium institutions, including mine.

The proposals were recently reviewed by the CFAR Executive Committee, along with internal and external reviewers; we are incredibly thankful to the reviewers who volunteered their time for this important process. We would like to extend a special thank you to Ann Collier, Roland Strong, and the Biometrics Core for their generous and enthusiastic efforts leading the NIA review process. 

We are excited to announce that we are funding nine NIA proposals this year. This is the largest number of NIA awards that this CFAR has ever done in its 30 years - and it emphasizes the incredible potential of emerging HIV investigators at our institutions and the robust commitment of this CFAR to career development. These proposals represent multiple CFAR institutions - including UW, Fred Hutch, Seattle Children's, and the University of Hawaii - as well as a variety of types of science: clinical and epidemiologic investigation, basic laboratory discovery, and implementation science. The awardees are listed below, and we look forward to seeing the results of their projects.

Jared Baeten
Director, UW/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research
Vice Chair, Department of Global Health
Professor of Global Health, Medicine, and Epidemiology


2017 CFAR New Investigator Awards

Whitney Harrington, MD, PhD
Senior Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellow, Department of Pediatrics
Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Maternal Microchimerism and BCG-specific Immunoregulation in HIV-exposed Infants
Mentor: Heather Jaspan, Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Iain MacPherson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, and Pharmacology
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Aptamer-based discovery of cell surface biomarkers for latent HIV infection
Mentor: Bruce Shiramizu, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Kenneth Mugwanya, MBChB, MS, PhD
Senior Fellow, Department of Global Health
University of Washington
HIV self-testing to Catalyze PrEP Delivery for Couples
Mentor: Jared Baeten, University of Washington

Andrew Mujugira, MBChB, MSc, MPH, PhD
Senior Research Fellow
Infectious Disease Institute, Uganda
Characterizing PrEP Adherence Patterns in African Sex Workers
Mentor: Connie Celum, University of Washington

Molly OhAinle, PhD
Staff Scientist, Human Biology
Fred Hutch
A Novel CRISPR Screen to Identify Capsid-Targeting Restriction Factors
Mentor: Michael Emerman, Fred Hutch

Rena Patel, MD, MPH
Acting Instructor, Department of Medicine
University of Washington
Optimizing viral suppression for pregnant and postpartum women living with HIV through point-of-care viral load testing (Opt4Mamas)
Mentor: Grace John-Stewart, University of Washington

Jillian Pintye, MPH, PhD
Senior Fellow, Department of Global Health
University of Washington
A noninvasive pharmacokinetic evaluation of PrEP adherence among pregnant/postpartum women
Mentor: Grace John-Stewart, University of Washington

Duncan Ralph, PhD
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Computational Biology, Public Health Sciences Division
Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center
New methods to find HIV-specific antibodies in deep sequencing data and reconstruct their evolutionary histories
Mentor: Frederick Matsen, Fred Hutch

Kate Wilson, MPH PhD
Research Scientist, Department of Global Health
University of Washington
Community-based distribution channels to optimize adolescent HIV self-testing in Nairobi, Kenya
Mentor: Pamela Kohler, University of Washington