Virus-Host Interactions (ViHIT)


Principal Investigator: Ester Ballana Guix


Our group focuses on two main lines of research:

1. Identification of new cellular cofactors of viral infections. Our work over the past few years has focused on the study of cell targets as an antiviral intervention strategy and on validation of these targets in cohorts of HIV patients. This work has allowed us to build a portfolio of cellular factors at different stages of development: the identification and validation of new targets and the monitoring of drugs approved for treatment and technology transfers through reports to pharmaceutical companies and the filing of patents. Our laboratory has focused particularly on the study of cell control and proliferation mechanisms associated with HIV-1’s capacity for replication, identifying targets that, as well as acting on viral restriction factors, modulate the cell cycle and the proliferation of cells susceptible to infection. We have found that the cells of some HIV-positive patients are capable of spontaneously reactivating viral production or may respond differently to reactivation stimuli. Our goal is to define the mechanisms that contribute to cell proliferation, the role of cell proliferation in perpetuating the infectious viral reservoir, the relationship between viral proliferation and integration processes and the possible application of a treatment that selectively attacks latently infected cells while helping eradicate HIV from the infected organism.

2. New antiviral development. We continue to screen and characterize the antiviral activity of new compounds, placing special emphasis on the development of active compounds against viral strains resistant to other drugs and on the validation of new therapeutic targets based on viral infection cellular cofactors.

Keywords: Pathogenesis, Immunity, Antiviral Response, Antiviral, resistance, Cure
Principal Investigator

Ester Ballana Guix

Ester Ballana graduated in Biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) in 2001. She completed a health and life sciences PhD under the supervision of Dr. Xavier Estivill at the Barcelona-based Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in May 2007, with a thesis on the subject of the...


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Irsi Caixa

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'La Caixa' Foundation Generalitat de Catalunya - Departament de Salut


HR Excellence in Research

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