Dr. Ashley T. Haase, Regents' Professor and Head of the
Department of Microbiology at the University of
Minnesota will deliver the 2012 Bill Narayan Lectureship.
His topic, “How the live attenuated monkey vaccines in
which we both were interested might work” addresses a key
issue central to the development of successful viral
vaccines. Dr. Haase received his B.A. in Chemistry from
Lawrence College and completed his M.D. at Columbia
College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was an Osler
Resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and began his
research in infectious diseases at the NIH, NIAID with Drs.
Baron and Kasel. Dr. Haase joined the faculty of Medicine
at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where
he remained to become a Professor of Medicine and
Microbiology. In 1984, Dr. Haase joined the University of
Minnesota where he is Department Director and Professor
of the Department of Microbiology.
Dr. Haase is an NIH
NINDS Javits Awardee and two-time recipient of an NIH
MERIT Award for his work on HIV, and a member of the
Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Haase began his lentivirus research studying visna
virus with Harold Varmus characterizing its molecular
characteristics. He continued this work collaborating with
Bill Narayan utilizing Bill’s in vivo model of visna virus in American sheep and co-authored a report in Cell in
1979 on the antigenic variation in visna virus with Dr.
Narayan (Scott et al., Cell 18: 321-327, 1979).
Since the emergence of HIV as a lentivirus, Dr.
Haase has devoted 25 years of his career to
investigating human (HIV-1/AIDS) and non-human primate
(SIV) lentiviral infections. His laboratory
investigates a unique aspect of HIV-1 pathogenesis,
to improve treatment and promote prevention of
lentiviral immunodeficiency infections.
recent work focuses on sexual mucosal transmission
and the acute stages of SIV infection, the roles of
“resting” and activated CD4+ T-cells in establishing
infection, and the mechanisms of the massive
depletion of CD4+ T-cells in the gut. Even after antiretroviral-
mediated suppression of HIV-1 replication
and relief from the chronic state of immune activation,
recovery of naïve CD4+ T-cells is slow and
incomplete. In a recent report in PLoS Pathogens
entitled, “Lymphoid tissue damage in HIV-1 infection
depletes naïve T-cells and limits T-cell reconstitution
after antiretroviral therapy”, Dr. Haase’s group tested the hypothesis that naïve T-cell loss in HIV-1 infection
is caused in part by damage to the lymphoid tissue
(LT) fibroblastic reticular cell (FRC) network that
restricts access to critical factors required for T-cell
survival. Results from these studies indicated that
restricted access to interleukin-7 (IL-7) was
responsible for the lack of naïve T-cell restoration.
Collagen deposition and loss of the FRC network
contributed to dysfunctions in IL-7 signaling.
Conclusions from the studies suggest early initiation
of highly active anti-retroviral therapy and propose the
use of adjunctive anti-fibrotic therapies to improve
immune reconstitution. These important studies from
the Haase group were selected by Faculty of 1000
(PLoS Path. 8(1): e1002437, 2012). In addition, his
laboratory is investigating sexual transmission of HIV,
the dominant route of transmission globally, using the
SIV rhesus macaque model with the goal of
developing effective vaccines and microbicides.
The ISNV congratulates Dr. Haase on his
outstanding research and scientific leadership and is
proud to host him at our meeting.