Laboratory of HIV-1 latency
We study the mechanisms underlying establishment and reversal of HIV-1 latency.
HIV infection remains one of the world’s most significant infectious diseases with around 38
million people living with HIV. While antiretroviral therapy (ART) is available, people living with
HIV face challenges such as limited access to ART, strict medication schedule, stigma, side-
effects, and inflammation-associated co-morbidities. Despite available therapies, HIV cannot be
cured as the virus can persist during treatment as integrated latent provirus and rebounds upon
treatment interruption. A cure for HIV infection can thus only result from a detailed
understanding of these processes. We study the mechanisms underlying establishment and
reversal of HIV-1 latency. Our research goals are to determine viral and host cell factors, which
allow a provirus to establish, maintain and escape viral latency to gain a better understanding
of this process and, in the future, target this step of the viral life cycle. For this we are applying
reporter systems, human primary cell models and exceptionally large libraries of hundreds of
latently infected T cell clones, allowing us to investigate the mechanistic heterogeneity
underlying HIV-1 latency.