Ragon Institute Investigator Awarded Global Health Grant

Ragon Institute Investigator Awarded Global Health Grant

Jun 27

Ragon Institute Research Fellow, Filippos Porichis, Ph.D is one of ten recipients of the 2012 Global Infectious Disease Travel Grant from the Harvard Center for Global Health.


Dr. Porichis’ project was entitled “Immunoregulatory networks governing MTB and HIV-specific T cell function in HIV/MTB co-infection” and he aims to use the grant to support his research into the interplay of immunoregulatory pathways that govern T cell dysfunction in HIV and Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB) infection.


MTB and HIV infections are two of the most prevalent infectious diseases in the world with devastating impact in morbidity and mortality. Co-infection with HIV and TB leads to a profound immune dysfunction that accelerates progression of both diseases. Future success for the eradication of both diseases requires a clear understanding of the HIV/TB connection and of the mechanisms that determine immune dysfunction.


Dr. Porichis’ project builds upon a collaborative effort between the Daniel Kaufmann Lab at the Ragon Institute and Dr. Victoria Kasprowicz’s group at HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) and the new KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) in Durban, South Africa.


Dr. Porichis plans to travel to South Africa, a major epicenter for both diseases, to gain hands-on experience with HIV/TB infections as well as to share his technological expertise with immunoregulatory pathways with researchers at the host institution.


Dr. Porichis was born in Athens and raised in the Greek island of Limnos. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Portsmouth in the UK and his Phd from the University of Crete. He joined the Ragon Institute as a Research Fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Kaufmann in 2008.


Receiving this highly respected fellowship from the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) will provide crucial support for this collaborative project into the connection between HIV and TB.


Says Dr. Porichis, “Identifying reversible causes of pathogen-specific T cell dysfunction in HIV/TB co-infection is a major therapeutic goal. This award provides crucial support in our effort to understand the immunoregulatory pathways that govern T cell dysfunction, with the ultimate goal of developing interventions that restore protective immune responses against both pathogens”