LSUA professor accepted for publication in international journal

Local News

ALEXANDRIA, La – Dr. Workineh Kite, Assistant Professor in the Louisiana State University of Alexandria Department of Biological Sciences, was recently notified that his research on HIV/SIV was selected for publication by Cell Press, one of strongest internationally-recognized high ranking journals.

Kite is one of three co-first authors on: A tyrosine-based trafficking signal in the simian immunodeficiency virus envelope cytoplasmic domain is strongly selected for in pathogenic SIV infection.

In short, Dr. Kite and his fellow researchers infected monkeys with live attenuated versions of simian immunodeficiency virus to develop a potential HIV vaccine for humans. Over the course of three years, they evaluated the protections and progressions of the disease’s development using several monkeys (pigtailed rhesus macaques) to track the success of the potential vaccine.

“This research was very interesting. To see how the virus evolved and to learn how we can induce immunity for the virus was extremely fascinating,” said Dr. Kite. “The collaboration with other outstanding researchers around the world was also a plus.”

Other co-first authors along with Kite include: Dr. Scott P. Lawrence from the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology from the University College London in the United Kingdom and Dr. Samra E. Elser from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cell Press is a firm that publishes only top-level research. It is the Time magazine for cell and molecular research,” said Dr. Nathan Sammons, Chair of the LSUA Department of Biological Sciences.

Through the research, the live virus replicated to high levels acutely in the monkeys, but the pigtailed monkeys dramatically controlled disease development to AIDS.  They observed cases where the virus escaped immune control due to mutations of the virus. However, the majority of the monkeys controlled viral replication and progression to AIDS. The findings of the authors were remarkable in the field, they added new knowledge about the mechanisms of SIV/HIV viruses to evade immune control that can pave a way towards new targets and strategies of designing novel vaccines against HIV.

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