Ashleigh Pogue Presents Research at Symposium

Study looks at genetic anomaly that causes HIV/AIDS immunity.  


Ashleigh Pogue ’09 presented, “Natural Occurrences of HIV/AIDS Immunity” at the Symposium for Artists & Scholars on April 17, 2009 at Randolph College.

Pogue conducted the research project with her faculty mentor, Kathy Schaeffer, associate professor of biology, while an undergraduate student at Randolph College.

An abstract of her project follows...

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an incurable viral infection that has reached pandemic proportions. Since its discovery, laboratories have been working to develop effective treatments and potential cures. Recent research has revealed a naturally occurring genetic anomaly that causes some individuals to posses HIV/AIDS immunity. This inherent immunity is the result of a mutation that alters HIV’s cellular receptor and prevents the virus from infecting its host cells. Laboratory observations determined that this mutation is responsible for blocking or inhibiting HIV infection in exposed individuals. Since the mutation’s discovery, research has focused on determining how it prevents infection in the hopes that an HIV/AIDS treatment or vaccine can be produced by mimicking its action. A naturally occurring human resistance to HIV has vast implications, and a better understanding of it could potentially provide the desperately needed treatment to prevent the spread of HIV and halt the development of AIDS.

The Student Symposium of Artists and Scholars provides Randolph College students from all classes and disciplines the opportunity to present the results of their research, scholarship, and creative work to the entire College community and beyond.

The two-day symposium, modeled after a typical academic conference, features oral presentations of student research, readings of creative work, musical performances, and exhibitions of student artwork. The symposium also includes a poster session, reception and a keynote address from a noteworthy academic speaker.

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