Sunday, August 18

UCLA researcher’s award allows further AIDS study


UCLA researcher’s award allows further AIDS study

Pediatric Aids Foundation

grants $650,000 to faculty member Jerome Zack

By Rachanee Srisavasdi

Daily Bruin Contributor

A UCLA AIDS researcher recently received the Elizabeth Glaser
Scientist Award, which allocates $650,000 for furthering research
at the UCLA AIDS Institute.

Jerome Zack, a UCLA faculty member since 1991, was one of five
recipients of the first-time award. Established by the Pediatric
AIDS Foundation, the award was created in honor of the late
Elizabeth Glaser, who co-founded the organization in 1988. Glaser
died of complications related to AIDS in 1994.

"I’m ecstatic about receiving the award," Zack said. "To be
honored by the Pediatric AIDS Foundation is more than
satisfying.

"The award will enable (the AIDS Institute) to support current
studies and gives us more stability," Zack added.

The research grant will also alleviate the strain of receiving
less research money from the federal government, and gives the AIDS
Institute an opportunity to support current studies and initiate
new ones, Zack added.

Zack said he plans to use the funds, which will be given over a
period of five years, to research how the thymus – a gland composed
of human lymphoid tissues – affects immune system development, and
also to continue his studies on possible treatments for AIDS.

Currently, Zack’s laboratory is transplanting human tissues into
specially-bred mice in order to investigate pathogenic mechanisms
used by the AIDS virus to destroy the thymus. His research
specifically applies to pediatric AIDS, because the thymus is most
active in newborns and children. HIV infection in the thymus
seriously affects a child’s developing immune system.

"Jerry (Zack) is one of our truly outstanding investigators,"
said Irvin Chen, director of the UCLA AIDS Institute. "This award
is further recognition of his contributions to AIDS
(research)."

In previous studies, Zack worked to determine mechanisms that
could prevent HIV infection.

The UCLA AIDS Institute was established in 1992 to research all
aspects of AIDS and the HIV virus and to coordinate all HIV-related
research, clinical activities and educational programs at UCLA and
affiliated hospitals.

Other recipients include researchers at UC San Francisco and the
Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

The Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award will be presented to Jerome
Zack and other recipients 2 p.m. Thursday at the Biltmore Hotel in
downtown Los Angeles.

Zack said he plans to use the funds … to research how the
thymus … affects immune system development.

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