Here are the details on the inaugural Biomathematics Seminar presentation:
Alison L. Hill – Biophysics Program, Harvard University
Going viral: Modeling the dynamics of HIV treatment
Harvard School of Public Health, FXB Building, Room G13, Wednesday October 17th, 4-5 pm
Abstract: I’m a graduate student in Biophysics and HST, and work with Martin Nowak at the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics on the Cambridge campus. My research uses mathematical models to understand how diseases spread and evolve at multiple scales, with a particular focus on the dynamics of anti-HIV drugs. I will discuss our recent work focusing on two of the major shortcomings of current antiretroviral drugs used against HIV – the development of drugs resistance, particularly in patients with suboptimal adherence, and the inability of these drugs to completely eradicate the infection from the body. First, I will discuss techniques we have developed to study the emergence of drug-resistant HIV within a patient, highlighting how we integrate models with laboratory data and measures of patient behavior. I will present results on how pharmacological properties of antiretroviral drugs affect the generation and selection of resistance mutations, and our attempts to realistically simulate clinical trials. Secondly, I will discuss our models of a new drug class, which may be capable of reversing viral latency and hence permanently curing patients with HIV. We can predict the threshold efficacy required of these investigational drugs and suggest important output metrics for planned drug trials. Our preliminary results suggest that the field may be overly optimistic about the potential of current drug candidates, but that a few important yet unknown parameters prevent definitive assessment. These projects are conducted in collaboration with Bob Siliciano’s group at Johns Hopkins.
Schedule for future talks here.