September 3, 2012

The International AIDS Society (IAS) and NIDA have awarded postdoctoral fellowships to scientists from Bangladesh, Greece, and Iran and professional development fellowships to scientists from Iran and Tajikistan. IAS and NIDA cosponsor the fellowships. The postdoctoral awards provide 18 months of training with an expert in drug abuse-related HIV to advance scientific understanding of the linkages between drug use and HIV while fostering multinational research. The professional development awards provide 8 months of training in HIV-related drug use research for well-established HIV or drug use scientists.

The 2012 IAS/NIDA postdoctoral fellows are:

  • Salequl Islam, Ph.D., Bangladesh, will study mechanisms and implications of injection and inflammation among HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV)-coinfected drug users in the AIDS Linked to the IntraVenous Experience (ALIVE) study. His mentor is Gregory D. Kirk, M.D., Johns Hopkins University. Building on Dr. Islam’s microbiology and HIV basic science expertise, the fellowship combines epidemiological and mechanistic investigation of the contributions made by injecting behavior and HIV/HCV infections to chronic inflammation and the role of inflammation on progression of HIV/HCV-related liver disease.
  • Georgios Nikolopoulos, Ph.D., Greece, will develop measures to study how macro-level economic and social changes may have affected HIV risk among Greek injecting drug users. His mentor is Samuel Friedman, Ph.D., National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. Dr. Nikolopoulos will spend the first part of his fellowship studying behavioral and social risk research methods and the second part conducting ethnographic research in Greece. He and his mentor expect that these Greek data, collected in the contexts of ongoing turmoil related to the economic crisis and an HIV epidemic among injection drug users, will greatly improve methods to conduct research in other crisis-involved countries and monitor crisis-involved countries for emerging HIV risk situations.
  • Mehrak Javadi Paydar, Ph.D., Iran, will analyze the neuroprotective effects of estrogen/soy isoflavones against development of HIV-induced neurodegeneration. Her mentor is Rosemarie Booze, Ph.D., University of South Carolina. They will modulate the dopamine transmission system of cocaine-sensitized rats and hope to determine the potential protective effects of estrogenic compounds on concomitant cocaine/HIV neurotoxicity.

The 2012 IAS/NIDA professional development fellows are:

  • Seyed Ramin Radfar, M.D., M.P.H., Iran, will analyze the prevalence of amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) use among patients receiving methadone or buprenorphine maintenance treatment and the effects of ATS use on HIV risk-related behaviors in Isfahan, Iran. His mentor is Richard Rawson, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Radfar will use a mixed method, qualitative-quantitative study to provide local health authorities with recommendations for reducing ATS-related harms among drug users in Isfahan.
  • Makhbatsho Bakhromov, Tajikistan, M.D., M.S., will examine the linkage between temporary labor migration, substance abuse, and HIV risk among Tajik male migrants in Moscow. His mentor is Judith Levy, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Bakhromov will explore the role of socioeconomic marginalization, psychosocial factors, and lessening of normative sanctions in encouraging risky behavior and develop for later testing a culturally appropriate and contextually suitable HIV prevention model for Tajik migrant workers who inject drugs.