EGPAF Awards the First Susie Zeegen Postdoctoral Awards to Dr. Lindsay Wieczorek
EGPAF awarded the first Susie Zeegen Postdoctoral Award to Dr. Lindsay Wieczorek with the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) in January 2013.This is a flexible research award that can be used to provide support for the salary (postdoc or technicians), research reagents/lab costs, travel for inter- laboratory exchanges of new techniques/technology, or other relevant costs that are approved by the Foundation.
This two-year research award provides support for postdoctoral fellows to conduct basic immunologic or virologic research in one of the following priority areas:
- Neonatal/infant immunology with particular reference to studies that are directly relevant to development of immunologic approaches to HIV prevention (i.e., HIV vaccines) or cure.
- Immunologic approaches to infant HIV preventive or therapeutic vaccination (active or passive).
- Novel approaches towards a “cure” in HIV-infected infants in parallel with current research in this area in adults, which will also contribute significantly to the understanding of infant immunology and HIV pathogenesis.
Interview with Dr. Lindsay Wieczorek:
What is your research focused on?
My research at the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) focuses on the design and development of HIV-1 vaccines for preclinical and clinical testing and the analysis of the humoral immune response elicited by vaccines or during natural infection. In the study supported by the Susie Zeegen Fund for Research, we’re privileged to be able to study the role of antibody in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV during childbirth. We’ll be focusing our analysis on specific HIV epitopes shown in the RV144 clinical trial in Thailand to be targeted by protective antibodies. The ultimate goal is to translate these research findings into the design of a more effective HIV vaccine.
Why are you interested in studying HIV/AIDS?
HIV/AIDS is a challenge for both the public health and scientific community. I’ve been studying HIV at MHRP for ten years and am still in awe at how simple and yet complex the virus is. There have been many roadblocks in the development of an HIV vaccine, however if these can be overcome the global impact would be immense. This challenge and the potential benefits keep me interested in HIV/AIDS research.
What made you choose to apply for the Susie Zeegen Fund Postdoctoral Award?
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation was founded on tragic personal experience with HIV/AIDS that was transformed into an institution designed to protect other mothers and children from sharing that same fate. It is a powerful and inspirational story. The Susie Zeegen Fund Award represents an outreach to the young scientific community and an opportunity to be connected and supported by this institution. I was happy to see that this opportunity was available.
What does the Award mean to you?
Receiving this award is a great honor. Professionally, it means that our research on perinatal transmission of HIV can continue, moving us closer to better understanding, and one day preventing, infection. Personally, as a mother, I have a toddler and one on the way, I know there is no greater priority than protecting our children. This award allows me to bridge these interests.
About Lindsay Wieczorek:
My name is Lindsay Wieczorek, I’ve worked at the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) in the Laboratory of Humoral Immunology for the last 10 years. I’ve studied molecular, cell and micro-biology at the University of Wisconsin (BS), Johns Hopkins University (MS) and Catholic University of America (PhD). I completed my masters and doctoral degrees while working full-time as a project/laboratory manager at MHRP. Now, I continue my research on HIV vaccine development as a post-doctoral fellow.