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 2017 Thomas H. Maren Junior Investigator Postdoctoral Award. Dr. Mavian’s research proposal “Salivary mircroRNA as novel biomarkers of HIV/AIDS disease progression in people living with HIV” will be supported by the Thomas Maren Junior Investigator Fund with $50,000 for a two-year study, beginning on April 1, 2017. As she is currently mentored by UF Researcher Marco Salemi, Ph.D., this research award will help Dr. Mavian transition away from guided research under Dr. Salemi’s direction and toward scientific research independence.
According to Dr. Mavian’s proposal, “This study proposes to evaluate a novel minimally invasive way to measure the occurrence of these HIV clinical conditions using microRNA (miRNA) profiles obtained from saliva rather than plasma and will allow implementation of assays to detect even low-copy or rare expression of specific circulating miRNA associated with disease. 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.”