New York’s and UT researchers' co-project received an Avant-Garde Award grant of $2,5 million
With proposals ranging from innovative therapies to the development of unique organoid models of the brain, five scientists and projects have been selected to receive the 2015 Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The five scientists will each receive $500,000 per year for five years to support their research. NIDA's annual Avant-Garde Award competition, now in its eighth year, is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug users.
„These scientists have proposed creative approaches that could transform the way we think about HIV/AIDS research, and could lead to the development of exciting new tools and strategies to prevent infections and improve the lives of substance abusers infected with HIV,“ said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
One scientist who recived the award is Don C. Des Jarlais from New York City who will lead the project „Combined Prevention to Reduce Initiation into Injecting Drug Use“ where scientist from University of Tartu Department of Public Health participate in leadership of Professor of Epidemiology Anneli Uusküla.
Dr. Des Jarlais will lead a multi-component HIV prevention intervention study in two sites with growing concerns about heroin use — New York City and Tallinn, Estonia in Eastern Europe. Researchers will focus on combining a number of interventions with demonstrated effectiveness in reducing the number of drug users who transition to injection drugs.
“There are a number of evidence-based programs for reducing initiation into injecting drug use, including the Heroin Sniffer project, the Break the Cycle project, Couples-based HIV counseling and low threshold drug treatment,” said Des Jarlais. “This project will apply a combined prevention approach to reduce initiation into injecting drug use.”
The Avant-Garde Awards are granted to scientists of exceptional creativity who propose high-impact research that could open new avenues for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS among drug abusers. The term “avant-garde” is used to describe highly innovative approaches that have the potential to be transformative.
Further information: Anneli Uusküla, Professor of Epidemiology, phone: +372 518 3552, e-mail: anneli.uuskula [ät] ut.ee.