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Basic Science Core

Photo by National Institutes of Health
3D print of HIV surface protein gp120. An antibody also is attached at the top (green and blue). When antibodies stick to viruses, they may prevent or limit infection of host cells. For more information, visit the NIH 3D Print Exchange at

The overall mission of the Basic Science Core (BSC) is to provide basic virological and immunological tools to all members, increase the utilization of small animal models for HIV/AIDS research, promote the application of state-of-the-art imaging techniques, and facilitate communication between clinical and basic investigators to promote translational science. On the basic science side, the BSC will promote team science on pressing questions for understanding the underlying features of HIV/AIDS including virus transmission and pathogenesis, immune dysfunction in aging patients, latency and reservoirs to pave the way towards research on novel antiviral therapies and a cure for HIV. On the clinical side, Yale and UPR already serve as the seat of large well-supported cohorts and patient populations in San Juan and New Haven that the BSC will leverage extensively for heightened translation of clinical sample-based and population-based data into cutting-edge investigations. The BSC will promote bedside-to-bench translational science by contributing to the design of studies in clinical trials and influencing collection of biospecimens for biobanks to allow new findings and correlations between aging and immune dysfunction. The BSC will facilitate studies on host response to HIV-1 in the setting of addiction (opioids) in patients as well as small animal models of HIV-1 infection. Likewise, the BSC will integrate efforts for the translation of basic science findings from the bench-to-the-bedside by providing access to cohorts, clinical samples, and help with the design of clinical studies and Phase 1 clinical trials.


  • Director

    Paul B. Beeson Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis

    Dr. Mothes studied chemistry (Diploma 1993) and received a Ph.D. in cell biology (Humboldt-University Berlin, 1998) for his studies on protein secretion and membrane protein integration at the endoplasmic reticulum under the mentorship of Dr. Tom Rapoport at Harvard Medical School. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. John Young and James Cunningham on retroviral entry before he started his own laboratory at Yale University in 2001. Dr. Mothes received Tenure in 2011, was promoted to Full Professor in 2016, and became the Paul B. Beeson Professor of Medicine in 2021.
  • Co-director

    Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases and of Microbial Pathogenesis; Director of Graduate Admissions, The BBS Microbiology Track; Director, Yale Predoctoral Training Program in Virology, Virology Laboratories; Chartered Member, Study Section: NIH: NIAID- AIDS Discovery And Development Of Therapeutics, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Priti Kumar received her PhD in Immunology from Indian Institute of Science in the year 2002. After completing her postdoctoral studies from Harvard Medical School, she joined as an Assistant Professor at Yale University in the year 2008. Currently, she is Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at Yale University School of Medicine. Her laboratory conducts translational research with a focus on treatment of diseases caused by RNA viruses. For the last 12 years as faculty at Yale, she made key contributions towards the development and testing of gene therapy and cure based approaches that overcome in vivo biological barriers to enable the use of next-generation biologicals like nucleic acids such as siRNA, nucleases such as recombinases and CRISPRs and antibodies with effector function for their therapeutic potential against viruses like HIV-1, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, dengue and now, SARS-COV2. Her laboratory is well-recognized for studies on HIV-1 in state-of-the-art humanized mouse models that allow characterization of virus pathogenesis in the context of a human immune system. Her laboratory also conducts pioneering research on live-imaging pathogenesis of infectious viruses in small animal models.
  • Co-director

    Dr. Loyda M. Meléndez is a Professor and Director of the Translational Proteomics Center, at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. She has published more than 50 papers in reputed journals and has been serving as an editorial board member. Her diverse preparation in Medical Technology and Experimental Pathology-Immunology provided her with the tools to apply knowledge to uncovering mechanisms of pathogenesis against HIV. Dr. Melendez has mentored 30 undergraduates, 6 MS, 16 PhD students, and 3 Post-doctoral trainees in the area of HIV pathogenesis over the past 22 years.