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Joseph Henriquez

Joseph HenriquezCooperating Doctoral Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology

EITS Track: Biomedical Toxicology

Education: B.S. Biology, University of California, Los Angeles; M.S. Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic University

Research Interests: HIV patients that have been on retroviral therapy show a decrease in viral serum titer. This decrease is typically associated with a concurrent increase in CD4+ T cells. When CD4+ T cells return to non-HIV+ levels, the patients are called "Concordant". However, there is a subset of HIV infected patients that do not show a return of "normal" CD4+ T cell concentrations, these patients are known as "Discordant". My project is going to be focused on elucidating the immune modulatory effect of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on immune cell populations in HIV infected patients. Specifically, I am going to be focused on the effect THC plays on Interleukin 7 Receptor Alpha (IL-7Rα) and Interferon-α (IFN-α) in leukocyte populations. We will be investigating the role that THC has on Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell (PDC) activation and IFN-α secretion. We will then investigate the possible role PDC's play in CD4+ T-helper cell proliferative regulation. We will also investigate CD8+ T cell populations in the same way and, if possible, B cells as well. We will use this information to compare the two populations of HIV patients and determine a possible causal link between cannabinoid use and CD4+ T cell status as well as other parameters between concordant and discordant HIV patients.

Major Professor: Norbert Kaminski, Pharmacology and Toxicology