Arturo Monzon

Pathway 1+3

Cohort 2022

Pathway Journey

With 1.5 million new infections in 2021, there is a need for an HIV-1 vaccine. While there has been a strong effort to create an HIV vaccine, the incredible mutation rate and diversity of HIV has made it very difficult. Most antibodies induced upon HIV infection can neutralize virus in the infected person, but do not have the breadth to inhibit infection from other strains of HIV. However, a small subset of the population can produce broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) that can inhibit a wide variety of HIV-1 strains. The study of these individuals has been crucial in our understanding of how to induce bnAbs through vaccination. One such person was identified in the control arm of the SPARTAC trial: donor SJU027003 (SJU). SJU had bnAbs that targeted the V3-glycan loop, a high conserved region of the HIV-1 envelope protein (Env). bnAbs that target the V3-glycan specifically bind the N332 glycan. However, at around week 133 post-infection, SJU was superinfected with a second HIV-1. This virus had the N332 glycan, therefore SJU’s bnAb response should have theoretically inhibited superinfection. The study of SJU’s bnAbs and their interaction with primary and superinfecting virus could inform on bnAb formation and novel V3-glycan escape mutations. My project aims to rescue monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from SJU serum and test them for broadly neutralizing activity. From this, we will characterize the evolution of the bnAb and virus throughout the duration of the SPARTAC trial. Finally, we will investigate the characteristics of the superinfecting virus to determine novel escape mutations against N332-specific bnAbs.

Biography

In fair King’s College, Arturo learned,
A biochemist’s path, his fervor earned.
A Bachelor’s laurel, bright and keen,
In halls of London, scholarly sheen.

To Baylor, he ventured, a Research Assistant true,
Studying HIV’s secrets, resistance in view.
A diligent mind in the College’s embrace,
Unraveling mutations, a scientific chase.

With zeal, Arturo chose a path anew,
A Doctoral Training Program, diverse and true.
The projects enthralling, courses in array,
A poetic symphony in the academic ballet.

Through halls of learning, he strides with grace,
A Burnsian spirit, in the scholarly race.
For in DTP’s embrace, his dreams unfurl,
In nature’s grandeur, like a Highland swirl.

In projects intriguing, his mind takes flight,
A researcher’s heart, burning bright.
Variety in courses, like heather on the moor,
Arturo Monzon, in academia’s galore.

As a Bard might sing of a scholar’s quest,
Arturo’s journey, by passion dressed.
In the dance of molecules, a rhythmic glee,
A Burnsian tale of biochemistry.