University of Florida Department of Epidemiology Research Assistant Scientist Yan Wang, PhD, was recently awarded funding from the UF Shands Quasi Endowment Fund for her project entitled, “Improving alcohol use screening among HIV infected patients through advanced psychological testing.”
Even though alcohol use and abuse remains a major obstacle to the effective treatment of HIV patients, there has been a long-standing problem in obtaining reliable alcohol use data in clinical settings. The project, directed by Dr. Wang, seeks to address this issue by applying the implicit association test (IAT) to the screening process. The IAT was recently adapted for the measurement of addictive behaviors, including alcohol use, but has yet to be evaluated in clinical applications.
The proposed plan is to administer an alcohol identity IAT among 50-60 HIV positive drinkers. From there, they will test its validity using the ecological momentary assessment (EMA) as well as a transdermal alcohol biosensor. As stated by Dr. Wang, “the ultimate goal is to establish better alcohol measurements as the basis for designing more effective and individualized alcohol intervention.”
We at SHARC are glad to have Dr. Wang as an affiliated scientist and are excited to see how this study will progress alcohol screening methods and allow us to better help the HIV community.
On Friday, January 20, 2017, it was announced that University of Florida Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine Postdoctoral Associate Carla Mavian, Ph.D., was selected for UF’s highly competitive Thomas H. Maren Junior Investigator Postdoctoral Award. The award provides Dr. Mavian with $50,000 for her two-year study, “Salivary mircroRNA as novel biomarkers of HIV/AIDS disease progression in people living with HIV.”
The innovative and exciting work that Dr. Mavian will be conducting through this project will be focusing on a novel, minimally invasive way to measure the occurrence of different HIV clinical conditions. The proposed plan is to use microRNA (miRNA) profiles obtained from saliva, which would provide clinicians with an brilliant alternative to current plasma-based methods.
In the words of Dr. Mavian, “This is the first step towards identifying new biomarkers that can be used to help guide treatment decisions, evaluate interventions, and/or help with prognosis of HIV/AIDS disease and progression.”
We look forward to all the future contributions Dr. Mavian will make to the field.