our hiv research

Accelerating Discovery to End the HIV Epidemic

The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to spread in the US and globally, requiring a need for researchers and physicians to be on the front lines of research. Advances in research have allowed individuals living with HIV to live long and healthy lives. The Davey Lab at UC San Diego is dedicated to solving real-life problems and directly helping communities affected by HIV and AIDS.

Dr. Smith’s primary research involves both the transmission of HIV (e.g., molecular epidemiology, superinfection, biologic correlates of transmission) and HIV reservoir dynamics (e.g., characterizing HIV shed from the genital tract, and virus associated with neuropathology). The Davey Lab seeks to understand the factors that drive HIV transmission and persistence. A vaccine and cure may lie in yet-to-be-discovered ways that will interrupt transmission and uncover silent pockets of HIV that emerge when treatment lapses or fails. Studies in progress range from technology-intensive “bench” research to the intimate, community-based Last Gift Study.

Collaborations between basic, clinical, behavioral, and translational research help prevent, detect, and treat HIV infection. To foster these collaborations, Dr. Smith utilizes the San Diego Center for AIDS Research (SD CFAR), one of several centers funded by the National Institutes of Health. The CFAR provides core facilities, including biostatistics and modeling, clinical investigation, flow cytometry, genomics and sequencing, protein expression and proteomics, as well as translational virology, and others. These core facilities provide access to crucial equipment and services needed to foster cutting-edge HIV research.

Dr. Davey Smith receives the Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research at UC San Diego - March 1, 2021

This program first honors the generosity and legacy of Florence Seeley Riford, who in 1986 foresaw the need to establish one of the first chairs in AIDS research in the world. Mrs. Riford set the stage for clinical, research, and academic excellence in AIDS studies at UC San Diego. Second, Davey Smith, MD, MAS, is announced as the second holder of this prestigious honor. Dr. Smith is Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, Co-Director of the San Diego Center for AIDS Research, Protocol Co-Chair of ACTIV-2, and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Medicine.

In accepting this award, Dr. Smith acknowledges his mentors and colleagues, including Dr. Douglas Richman, the first holder of the Riford Chair in AIDS Research. In addition, Dr. Smith shares important information on HIV research and care, and intersections with HIV, COVID-19, and future pandemics.

You can learn more about the San Diego Center for AIDS Research here.

I think we will find a cure and vaccine. You have to think you can—before you can. I will use every single tool in our toolbox to prevent HIV transmission within communities. I will work with my friends and collaborators to make more tools, because, though a cure may be on the horizon, we should not sit around waiting for one.

– Davey Smith, MD, MAS