Priti Kumar, PhD

Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases

Research Interests

T-Lymphocytes; RNA Interference; RNA, Small Interfering; Infectious Disease Medicine; Molecular Targeted Therapy

Research Organizations

Internal Medicine: Infectious Diseases

Cancer Center: Virus and Other Infection-associated Cancers

Molecular Virology: Virology laboratories

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

My laboratory is involved in developing novel RNA interference (RNAi)-based strategies for treating viral infections. RNAi is a gene silencing mechanism in which 19-21 nucleotide double-stranded RNAs called small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) can guide the destruction of complementary cellular mRNAs with a high degree of specificity. A major challenge in using RNAi-based therapies in vivo is the targeted delivery of siRNAs to specific tissues/cells of interest. Targeted delivery would not only improve efficacy but also reduce potential side effects of RNAi therapy.

Towards this goal we have recently developed a novel method for the specific delivery of siRNAs into human T cells and tested in vivo efficacy using “humanized mice”: (immunodeficient mice transplanted with human hematopoietic stem cells and consequently a human immune system). Antiviral siRNAs delivered by this approach could control HIV in these mice demonstrating the feasibility of RNAi therapy for HIV infection.

Specialized Terms: RNA interference (RNAi)-based strategies for treating viral infections

Extensive Research Description

The current focus of my lab is to refine the above methods and use them to investigate key aspects of HIV immunopathogenesis and AIDS-associated T cell loss. In addition we have also developed a novel method for the specific delivery of siRNAs into neuronal cells and used this to treat flaviviral encephalitis in mouse models. My lab is presently using this approach to investigate the pathogenesis of flaviviral infections. The long term goals are to translate this research into viable HIV-AIDS and anti-flaviviral therapy.

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Priti Kumar, PhD
Mailing Address
Internal Medicine/Infectious DiseasesPO Box 208022
25 York Street

New Haven, CT 06510