MIT BE Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Leveraging the Power of Single-Cell RNA Sequencing to Investigate the Potential of CAR-T Cells as an HIV Cure Strategy
- Biological Engineering
Alexander K. Shalek
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects immune cells and currently has no available cure. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, which are immune cells engineered to target specific antigens, have emerged as a promising cure strategy. Using tissue from simian-HIV (SHIV)-infected rhesus macaques treated with CD4CAR-T cells, we will explore two questions: How do immune cell profiles differ between animals experiencing viral remission and those that did not? How do their viral reservoirs differ? Through single-cell RNA sequencing, we will examine correlates of viral control and characteristics of the viral reservoir and immune cell populations. Answering these questions can reveal targets associated with the efficacy of CAR-T cell therapy as an HIV cure strategy.
As a student in the SuperUROP program, I am eager to apply what I am learning in my Biological Engineering curriculum to my research project exploring new HIV cure strategies. I look forward to gaining in-depth experience in the research process while learning from dedicated mentors and peers, and I am excited about the opportunities to share my work with the MIT community and beyond.