UGA’s Striepen appointed to NIH grant review panel on diseases associated with AIDS

Athens, Ga. – Boris Striepen, associate professor of cellular biology and member of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases (CTEGD), has been appointed to a grant review panel by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Center for Scientific Review.

Invitations to serve on these panels are extended only to scientists who have demonstrated significant achievements in research, said Brent Stanfield, acting director of NIH’s Center for Scientific Review.

The panel will evaluate the scientific merit of research grants submitted to NIH on the infections and cancers that arise in people with compromised immune systems because of HIV and AIDS.

“Most of these diseases already are widespread in the population but never develop into a threat to people with a normal immune system,” Striepen said. “But when people – such as AIDS patients – lose immune control, they become highly susceptible to these diseases.”

The proposals will include research on such diseases as tuberculosis, viral diseases and viral-caused cancers, fungal diseases and parasitic diseases, all of which are leading causes of death in AIDS patients.

Striepen studies two parasites that cause infection in AIDS patients: Toxoplasma, which causes a severe inflammation of the brain, and Cryptosporidium, which causes gastro-enteritis. His research team and collaborators at other universities study the genomes and metabolism of these organisms and try to identify weak spots that could be future targets for drug developers.

“Dr. Striepen was chosen because of his expertise in parasitology, particularly in the areas of Toxoplasmosis and Cryptosporidiosis,” said Eduardo Montalvo, scientific review administrator for the AIDS Opportunistic Infections and Cancer study section. “He was also highly recommended by his colleagues. After initially serving as an ad hoc reviewer, it was apparent why he was so highly regarded by his colleagues.”

Striepen’s four-year term begins July 1. For more information about his research, log on to http://webs.cb.uga.edu/~striepen.