Infectious Diseases

Immunology Research Highlights


Our clinical research program at The Samuel and Esther Chester Immunology Center has grown over the years because of the outstanding work of faculty in infectious diseases, general internal medicine, pediatrics and behavioral medicine.

Program initiatives include:

  • The Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research is under the leadership of Susan Cu-Uvin, M.D.  It is funded by an NIH center grant (P30AI042853) awarded since 1998 in recognition of excellence in HIV research.
  • The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment funded a major three-year grant to Josiah Rich, MD, to provide primary care and outreach to active injection drug users. The program's focus is HIV/STD diagnosis and prevention, Hepatitis B and C testing, Hepatitis B vaccination and linkage to substance abuse treatment. Funding through the Open Society Foundation and the American Federation for AIDS Research allows the prescription of clean needles to prevent further spread of HIV and Hepatitis.
  • Susan Cu-Uvin, MD, and her team have identified factors that influence genital tract HIV shedding. This has important implications for both sexual transmission and vertical transmission of HIV from mother to child. The effective suppression of HIV viral load in the plasma has resulted in suppression of HIV RNA expression in the genital tract. Resistant virus may shed in the genital tract and be transmitted from mother to child or to a sexual partner.
  • Lifespan was awarded an NIH grant enabling Karen Tashima, MD, and Timothy Flanigan, MD, to join the AIDS Clinical Trials Group which evaluates HIV treatments. This network has defined effective long term treatments for HIV over the past 10 years and fostered investigations into the complex interplay between immunologic suppression, viral replication and treatment.
  • Behavioral medicine and infectious diseases joined to develop an intervention to decrease HIV/STD risk behaviors among young men leaving prison. As one of four sites funded by the Centers for Disease Control, the center works closely with correctional and non-correctional professionals to develop and eventually evaluate an intervention that may not only decrease HIV risk behaviors, but also decrease substance abuse and recidivism.