Dr. Maria Blasi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine division of Infectious Diseases. She is an HIV virologist and immunologist whose work encompasses several aspects of HIV research, ranging from the study of the kidney as a non-canoncial reservoir for HIV to the designing and testing of a novel vaccine platform based on an integrase defective lentiviral vector (IDLV). Dr. Blasi’s academic training and research experience equipped her with an excellent background in multiple biological disciplines including molecular biology, virology, immunology and vertebrate animal models.
Over the years, Dr. Blasi has developed in vitro protocols to understand how HIV gains access to renal epithelial cells, as well as in vivo protocols to isolate and characterize cell-free and cell-associated virus from urine samples of people living with HIV (PLWH). Her collaborations with clinicians have been instrumental to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical studies. Through these collaborations, her lab is currently analyzing the HIV-1 dynamics in HIV+ to HIV+ kidney transplant cases. Leveraging her expertise in studying HIV infection of the kidney, the Blasi lab is currently conducting studies that will help elucidate the interplay between local viral infection and local inflammation in COVID-19-related kidney injury.
Dr. Blasi has also been involved in several pre-clinical studies testing IDLV-based prophylactic and therapeutic HIV vaccines. More recently, she has been interested in the development and optimization of therapeutic antibodies against HIV and rotavirus.
Dr. Blasi will lead the Development Core in the Duke Center for Structural Biology (DCHSB) along with co-leads Drs. Jason McLellan and Ivelin Georgiev.
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