Research interests

During my postdoctoral training in the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, I have developed an ultra-sensitive HIV-1 detection assay, based on an innovative semi-nested qPCR of my own design (Pasternak, J Clin Microbiol 2008; Kiselinova, Pasternak, PLoS One 2014). This assay is extremely sensitive and robust, allowing to detect the virus in >90% of patient samples that are undetectable by conventional viral load measurements. This assay allowed us to identify cell-associated HIV RNA as a viral marker that predicts disease progression and therapy response, and we have demonstrated the clinical value of this biomarker in several publications. In particular, we have shown that cell-associated HIV RNA predicts antiretroviral therapy (ART) failure and correlates with subtle changes in patients’ adherence to ART in the absence of virological rebound in plasma (Pasternak, PLoS One 2009; J Infect Dis 2012). This pioneering work opened the door for a wider use of HIV biomarkers for monitoring ART response and studying HIV persistence, and the assays I developed are now used in a number of research laboratories worldwide, including those at the forefront of HIV cure research (Rasmussen, Lancet HIV 2014; Elliott, PLoS Pathogens 2014). More recently, I received two prestigious research grants from the Dutch AIDS Fonds as a Principal Investigator, allowing me to start an independent research group within the department. My current scientific interests are focused on persistence and dynamics of HIV reservoir. The ongoing research projects of my group deal with HIV reservoir and viral diversity in patients treated with ART during primary infection, viral and host factors determining immunological failure on ART, and virological correlates of co-morbidities in HIV-infected patients.


Molecular Virology

Research output

  1. Towards a molecular profile of antiretroviral therapy-free HIV remission

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

  2. Novel role of UHRF1 in the epigenetic repression of the latent HIV-1

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  3. The splice of life: Does rna processing have a role in hiv-1 persistence?

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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