I am a faculty member at Emory University School of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases with a multi-disciplinary background and previous experience in clinical HIV medicine, HIV epidemiology and clinical outcomes research, and laboratory based HIV research. The goal of my research is to work towards optimizing efficacy of HIV biomedical prevention interventions, such as an HIV vaccine, pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, and microbicides, for populations at high risk of infection. For this work, I developed a successful translational immunology program at Emory focused on rectal HIV transmission. I am currently principal investigator of several ongoing studies examining mucosal immunology that focus on how real-life, human, sexual contexts can influence rectal mucosal susceptibility to HIV. In addition, I am Associate Director for the Emory Center for AIDS Research Clinical Core, and based on procedures developed in the aforementioned studies, I have implemented a rectal biopsy protocol as a Core service to improve access to mucosal tissues for CFAR investigators at Emory.
I also have a joint appointment in the Rollins School of Public Health where I am also a faculty member of the PRISM Health group, led by Dr. Patrick Sullivan. In the last 5 years, our group has conducted 2 large cohort studies of MSM in Atlanta with 2 additional cohort studies enrolled in 2015. I have served as a co-investigator on these NIH-funded projects, led independent data analyses, and authored several manuscripts. Our group has shown that high HIV prevalence sexual networks and socioeconomic disadvantage contribute significantly to disparities in HIV prevalence and incidence between black and white MSM. We have also shown that disparities in STI also contribute to disparities in HIV incidence to a lesser degree. We have now enrolled a new NIDA funded cohort of young, black MSM who are at-risk of HIV infection designed to delineate relationships between substance use and HIV risk behavior. Within this cohort, we have embedded an optional PrEP program, funded by a CFAR supplement of which I am the PI, to examine uptake and adherence in this key population.