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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Professor Dmitri Sviridov and Dr Nigora Mukhamedova

Project summary

Current treatment for HIV infection has dramatically reduced mortality, however, co-morbidities that are not directly related to immunodeficiency are now increasingly recognised as a consequence of HIV infection. One such co-morbidity is an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease. The current view is that HIV infection and/or its treatment are associated with elevated risk of development of atherosclerosis and consequently with increased prevalence of acute and chronic cardiovascular events. HIV also causes disturbances of lipoprotein metabolism, metabolic syndrome, lipodystrophy, dementia.

We currently investigate how HIV is causing co-morbidities in the organs not infected with the virus. Our hypothesis is that HIV-infected cells release viral proteins and MiRs in the bloodstream that affect uninfected cells causing pathology in these cells without infection. Our study is focused on establishing how factors released by HIV-infected cells affect uninfected cells. Our hypothesis, supported by large volume of data, is that an affected pathway is the pathway related to cholesterol metabolism.

This research is on the crossroads of virology and cardiology and gives an opportunity to learn a wide range of techniques, from cell biology to biochemistry as well as clinical studies. The project is conducted in collaboration with a number of Australian and overseas laboratories and gives the participants an exposure to research in various disciplines.

This project is suitable for a PhD or Honours student and will require a combination of in vitro work in cell culture and animal studies and will involve applying various skills and techniques, including:

  • animal models
  • cell culture
  • flowcytometry
  • immunocytochemistry
  • molecular biology


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Cui HL, Ditiatkovski M, Kesani R, et al.
HIV protein Nef causes dyslipidemia and formation of foam cells in mouse models of atherosclerosis
FASEB Journal 2014;28: 2828–2839

Cui HL, Grant A, Mukhamedova N, et al.
HIV-1 Nef mobilizes lipid rafts in macrophages through a pathway that competes with ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux
Journal of Lipid Research 2012;53:696–708Mujawar Z, Rose H, Morrow MP et al.

Human immunodeficiency virus impairs reverse cholesterol transport from macrophages
PLoS Biology 2006;4, e365

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