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HIV/STD Laboratory CORE NEWS

The name of the Virology, Immunology & Microbiology (VIM) Core has been changed to HIV/STD Laboratory Core.

The CAP/CLIA part of the HIV/STD Laboratory Core is now located on the 2nd floor of the Genome Sciences Building (behind the hospital near the Bell Tower parking deck. The Basic Science part of the Core lab in the Lineberger Cancer Center is housed in 22-059. The Immunology part of the Core lab on the 4th floor of the Brinkhous-Bullitt Building is staying put.

HIV/STD Laboratory CORE DESCRIPTION

The HIV/STD Laboratory Core of the UNC CFAR offers services and collaborations to HIV researchers for their basic and clinical research projects. The Core provides a CAP/CLIA accredited environment for HIV viral load testing, HIV diagnosis, CD4 counts, and diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrheae, Chlamydia tractomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, and Mycoplasma genitalium. In addition, the Core provides specimen processing for clinical trials taking place at UNC.

The HIV/STD Laboratory Core consults and collaborates with researchers at UNC-CH, RTI International, and FHI 360 (as well as outside researchers). Our contributions to recent research projects include:

• sequencing of HIV and HCV from patients
• developing flow cytometry assays and cytokine ELISA and multiplex bead array panels
• providing instrumentation, e.g. ELISPOT reader
• testing new microbiologic diagnostic assays on a variety of specimen types
• testing new compounds for anti-HIV activity
• measuring prostate specific antigen (PSA) as a marker of sexual activity
• training of personnel in virus work and various assays

The Core serves as a repository for long- and short-term storage of biological specimens from HIV+ patients in the UNC Clinical Cohort and maintains a current CDC-USPHS permit for importing HIV+ specimens from foreign countries.

Researchers and clinicians can request services using the button at the top of the page and you can contact us by our email address.

Julie Nelson, Ph.D.

Core Director

Dr. Nelson is a Research Assistant Professor in Microbiology and Immunology and serves as the Director of the HIV/STD Laboratory Core. She has extensive expertise in HIV virology and molecular biology, working on HIV envelope evolution, genotyping of all regions of HIV, adapting viral load and sequencing assays to multiple specimen types (including breastmilk, genital secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, throatwash, dried blood spots, and urine), infection of different cell types with different strains of HIV, mutagenesis of HIV, and testing new antiretroviral compounds.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CB# 7291
Chapel Hill, NC
jnelson@med.unc.edu
Fax: 919-966-9873
Office Phone: 919-966-6872

Kristina De Paris, Ph.D.

Associate Core Director

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Dr. De Paris is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Her research focuses on host-pathogen interactions in HIV-1 infection. The long-term goal of her work is to prevent HIV-1 transmission by breast-feeding. Towards this goal, her lab is performing pathogenesis and vaccine studies in the infant macaque model of oral SIV infection. Realizing that pediatric vaccine design and implementation require a detailed understanding of immune development in infants, her lab is trying to understand how molecular mechanisms of immune signaling differ between human infants and adults and how these responses mature during the first year of life. This knowledge will be instrumental for further vaccine optimization. Dr. De Paris is an experienced immunologist who is assisting clinicians in immunological aspects of their research, including flow cytometric sample analysis, measurement of biological mediators in various body fluids by ELISA or multiplex micro-bead analysis.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC
abelk@med.unc.edu
Office phone: 919-843-9560

Marcia Hobbs, Ph.D.

Associate Core Director

Marcia Hobbs

Dr. Hobbs is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology. Marcia earned her BS from Duke University and her PhD from UNC; she has been on the faculty at Carolina since 1996. The Hobbs lab conducts translational research focused on non-viral sexually transmitted infections; the lab supports a variety of research projects aimed directly at diagnosis, treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections or the use of these infections as bio-markers in evaluating biomedical or behavioral interventions aimed at STI/HIV prevention.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CB# 7031
Chapel Hill, NC
marcia_hobbs@med.unc.edu
Fax: 919-843-1015
Office Phone: 919-843-6893

John Schmitz, Ph.D.

Associate Core Director

Dr. Schmitz is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology and directs the Histocompatibility, Flow Cytometry and Clincal Immunology Laboratires at UNC Hospitals. Dr. Schmitz has experiences in the use of cytokine assays, flow cytometry including cell surface and intracellular cytokine assays as well as lymphocyte proliferation assays. He has used that experience in validating and implementing assays for HIV related research for over 15 years. Prior to establishing the Immunology Core Dr. Schmitz served for 8 years as the Director of the UNC Immunology Support Laboratory, one of 8 Immunology Cores within the ACTG. In addition to his experience providing support of basic, translational and clinical studies of HIV infection, Dr. Schmitz has extensive experience in diagnostic Immunology as director of the Clinical Immunology, Flow Cytometry and Histocompatibility Laboratires at UNC Hospitals. Dr. Schmiitz’ 25 years of clinical research experience include assessment of antigen-specific humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, quantitation of soluble markers, immunogenetic testing and molecular diagnostics of infectious diseases.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CB# 7600
Chapel Hill, NC
jschmitz@unch.unc.edu
Fax: 919-966-0486
Office Phone: 919-966-8453

Nicole Maponga

Laboratory Manager/Supervisor

Nicole joined the UNC Virology lab in December of 2010 as the lab supervisor and took over as lab manager upon the departure of the previous manager.  Her eight years of experience in Blantyre, Malawi, working with the Johns Hopkins Project as a Study Coordinator and then Lab Manager has provided her with experience few others have.

250 Bell Tower Drive
2156 Genome Sciences Building
Chapel Hill, NC
maponga@med.unc.edu
Fax: 919-966-9873
Office Phone: 919-966-6867

Kara Compliment

Research Specialist

Kara Compliment

Ms. Compliment has a medical laboratory specialist degree from UNC-CH. She runs several clinical assays (mostly Abbott viral load and Aptima HIV diagnosis) and works on most of the research virology projects for the Core. She specializes in PCR-based technologies and sequencing.

450 West Drive
22-059 LCCC
Chapel Hill, NC
kara_compliment@med.unc.edu
Office Phone: 919-843-9252

Takesha McMillion

Research Specialist

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Takesha is a 2005 graduate of Bennett College for Women, and has been a part of the Fiscus Lab since October 2005.  She serves as the laboratory’s QA/QC Manager.  Her duties include maintaining the calibrations, preventative maintenance, validations, and daily functions of the lab’s equipment.  She also organizes and orders most of the laboratory’s reagents and materials.  Takesha plays a vital role in the management and development of the laboratory’s standard operating procedures (SOPs), and the management of the lab’s external and internal quality assurance assessments.  As a skilled research specialist, she also performs the tasks of BSL3 processing tech, AVIOQ and GenProbe testing technician, and reserve shipping technician.

250 Bell Tower Dr.
2124 Genome Sciences Building. CB 7291
Chapel Hill, NC
tbrksmc@med.unc.edu
Fax: 919-966-9873
Office Phone: 919-966-6867

Paul Alabanza

Research Specialist

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Mr. Alabanza has a BS degree from the University of Virginia. He is highly skilled at specimen processing and is the primary trainer for processing. He also runs the Abbott viral load assay, with previous experience on the Roche Amplicor Monitor RNA and DNA assays.

Charles West

Research Assistant

Chuck is a graduate of St. Olaf College and has been a part of the CFAR HIV/STD lab since September, 2006. His duties include Shipping and Receiving of diagnostic specimens, LDMS\computer\lab interface, and freezer storage.

250 Bell Tower Dr.
2158 Genome Sciences Building
Custom text: Chapel Hill, NC
cbwest@med.unc.edu
Fax: 919-966-9873
Office Phone: 919-966-6867

Dana Lapple

Research Associate

Dana is a Research Associate in the Division of Infectious Diseases, having completed 12 years of service at UNC in the Hobbs laboratory. She has expertise in molecular diagnostics for STI’s and other infectious diseases. She also provides logistical support for the UNC Project in Malawi, with extensive experience in international and domestic shipping regulations. In 2011, Dana earned a UNC Masters of Public Health with Epidemiology focus and honorary membership to Delta Omega Public Health Honors Society.

Maria Schanz

Research Technician

maria

Ms. Schanz has a BS degree from UNC-CH. She specializes in data entry for patient specimens into the Laboratory Data Management System. In addition, she does specimen processing, ELISA assays, and STI diagnostic assays on the Hologic Panther system.

Office Phone: 919-966-6867

Juan Santiago

Research Technician

Mr. Santiago has a BS degree from Universidad Metropolitana de Puerto Rico. He works primarily at the CTRC to process time-sensitive specimens for AIDS clinical trials.

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