URBAN ARCH Junior Investigators and Trainees

uganda trainees 1.1

l-r: Adam Carrico and Jeffrey Samet at the 2014 CHAART Meeting; Kinna Thakarar and Judy Hahn at the 2016 CHAART Meeting in Washington D.C.

Drs. Judy Hahn and Winnie Muyindike from the Uganda ARCH Cohort recruited several outstanding individuals to examine the impact of heavy alcohol consumption on HIV disease progression. Dr. Hahn was awarded a K24 from NIAAA to mentor investigators from the University of California San Francisco (USCF) and Uganda in patient-oriented alcohol and HIV research. Adam Carrico, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nursing at UCSF, analyzed Uganda ARCH data in a published manuscript entitled “Unhealthy Alcohol Use is Associated with Monocyte Activation Prior to Starting Antiretroviral Therapy.” Sarah Woolf-King, PhD, MPH, an NIAAA K01 awardee presented “Randomized Study of Alcohol and Condom Use at a Most Recent Sexual Event among HIV-infected Ugandan Adults” at the 2015 RSA Annual Meeting. Stephen Asiimwe, MMed, MBChB, a Research Fellow at UCSF under Dr. Hahn’s mentorship, received CFAR support and is performing a cross-cohort analysis of both Uganda and Russia data to investigate alcohol types and HIV disease progression. As a post-doctoral Infectious Diseases Fellow at Boston Medical Center/Boston University (BU) School of Medicine, Kinna Thakarar, DO, MPH, took advantage of both the Uganda and Boston datasets to examine medication treatment for addiction in Boston as well as alcohol home-brewing in Uganda. She presented these analyses at the 2015 Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) Annual Meeting and the 2016 CHAART Scientific Meeting, respectively. She has now transitioned to the position of Assistant Professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine, Maine Medical Center, and is continuing to stay engaged with the URBAN ARCH team. Jennifer Wagman, PhD, MHS, Assistant Professor at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), was recently awarded a 5-year NIAAA K01 Award in 2015 entitled “Alcohol Epidemiology and Pilot Intervention to Reduce Alcohol, IPV and HIV in Women in Uganda,” with Drs. Samet and Hahn as her mentors. She is also working with the Russia ARCH team to examine gender differences among people who inject drugs with regards to HIV transmission risk.

russian trainees

l-r: Evgeny Krupitsky and Karsten Lunze at the 2014 CPDD Annual Meeting; Kaku So-Armah at the 2015 Boston University Evans Research Day Poster Session

The Russia ARCH team has also been successful in establishing fruitful collaborations with new investigators. After completing a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh under the mentorship of Dr. Matt Freiberg, Kaku So-Armah was recruited by Dr. Samet as faculty at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). He successfully applied for an NIAAA diversity research supplement to study liver injury’s impact on innate and adaptive immune dysfunction in HIV using Russia ARCH data. During graduate school, he published “Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis C, and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Individuals with Alcohol Problems: A Cross-Sectional Study” using HIV-LIVE data, and he is currently working on several manuscripts using Russia ARCH data. Bulat Idrisov, MD, MSc, a Resident Physician in Russia, was awarded a NIDA INVEST Research Fellowship and recently arrived in Boston to train with his mentor, Dr. Samet, for the next year. Bulat previously analyzed Russia ARCH data to examine food insecurity and HIV risk behaviors while he studied at the Brandeis University Heller School in 2014. Karsten Lunze, DrPH, MD, MPH, is a Research Assistant Professor at BUSM and has been mentored by Dr. Samet since 2010, when he was an addiction medicine fellow. He has examined alcohol’s role on nondisclosure of HIV to sex partners in Russia as well as stigma and HIV.

boston trainees

l-r: Sara Lorkiewicz (middle) at the 2015 CPDD Annual Meeting; Seonaid Nolan at the 2015 CPDD Annual Meeting

Boston ARCH has also benefitted from involvement of junior investigators and trainees such as Angela Robertson Bazzi, PhD, MPH, Seonaid Nolan, MBBCh, FRCPC, and Theresa Kim, MD, as well as several medical and public health students (Gabriel Lerner, Nicolas Mauricio, and Sara Lorkiewicz). Angela Bazzi was awarded the BU Career Development Professorship, and her focus within Boston ARCH is related to partnered and non-partnered HIV-infected adults with addiction. Gabriel Lerner, a BU medical student, worked with Boston ARCH during the summer of 2015. He analyzed data to assist with validation of lifetime drinking polypharmacy research. Sarah Lorkiewicz, a graduate of the BU Master of Science in Medical Sciences program, completed her thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Saitz. She used Boston ARCH data to look at the effects of marijuana and alcohol use on cognitive dysfunction in people with HIV, which was presented at the 2015 CPDD and RSA Annual Meetings.  Seonaid gave an oral presentation on her analysis of Boston ARCH data at CPDD titled “Substance Dependence Criteria, Not Substance Use, Associated with HIV Virologic Control.” Finally, Theresa was awarded an NIAAA supplement to study the effects of alcohol and opioid consumption on bone turnover markers in the cohort.

Over the past five years, trainees and students have become essential members of URBAN ARCH, leading the way on analyses and grant submissions. We thank them for their work in developing ideas that have led to successful products and contributions in the field of HIV and alcohol. For many of them, this is the beginning of their careers in addiction and HIV research, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on URBAN ARCH activities. We would also like to encourage new students and junior faculty interested in HIV and substance use research to contact us for more information. The Data and Sample Repository section of the URBAN ARCH website provides details about the types of samples available, the status of data collection for each cohort, and the necessary procedures required to access this abundant source of information.