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Viral/Host Genetics Program


This program supports basic and clinical research to determine the viral and host genetic factors regulating the development of neurologic and neurocognitive complications caused by HIV in the developed and developing world. The program encourages use of state-of-the-art genetic approaches ( e.g., transcriptomics, phenomics, epigenomics, whole genome association studies, next generation sequencing, exome sequencing, and systems biology) to identify and validate viral and host genetic factors that influence the pathophysiology of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).

Areas of Emphasis

Viral Genetics

  • Study the role of HIV sequence diversity in understanding neurovirulence, neurotropism, discordant and compartmentalized viral evolution, central nervous system (CNS) cell type specific infection, regional genetic heterogeneity, and associated functional effects.
  • Conduct viral genetic studies relating to the establishment and maintenance of CNS reservoirs.
  • Examine molecular and genetic mechanisms of clade differences in HIV neuropathogenesis.
  • Identify viral and host biosignatures for HAND.
  • Study the role of viral epigenetic factors in the pathophysiology of HAND.

Host Genetics

  • Examine the role of host genetic factors, including epigenetic mechanisms in regulating susceptibility to HAND.
  • Assess epigenetic host response to viral infection mediated through chromatin modification, non-coding RNAs, and DNA methylation.
  • Study host genetic factors regulating responsiveness to antiretroviral therapy and neuroprotective adjuvant therapies (pharmacogenomics).
  • Delineate the genetic basis of host restriction factors in CNS cell types.


Jeymohan Joseph, Ph.D.
5601 Fishers Lane, Room 9G20
Rockville, MD 20852