Newswise — PHILADELPHIA — (March 15, 2017) — The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research leader in cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, announces the appointment of Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen, Ph.D., as assistant professor in Wistar’s Vaccine Center.

Abdel-Mohsen joins Wistar’s HIV research program bringing his expertise and interest in diverse aspects of HIV pathogenesis, including intrinsic immunity, host-virus interactions, HIV latency, and HIV genetic variability. HIV latency, defined as viral reservoirs silently hiding within the host immune cells, is the ultimate obstacle to the eradication of the HIV epidemic because these silent reservoirs can reawaken and produce new virus within a few weeks of stopping the antiretroviral therapy, even after years of continuous treatment. Abdel-Mohsen recently discovered that a human sugar-binding protein called galectin-9 modulates transcription of HIV genes during latency and induces reactivation of latent HIV while also causing mutations in the HIV genome that affect its ability to replicate. This discovery set the stage for a broader scale study of how glycosylation, or the addition of sugar chains on most of the proteins in the cell, plays a role in the pathogen-host interaction and offers new targets for developing therapeutic strategies.

“Mohamed has an innovative research approach to HIV,” said Dario Altieri, M.D., President and CEO of The Wistar Institute, Director of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center, and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor. “His expertise complements Wistar’s first class HIV program with a fresh perspective on new avenues that are opening in the field, such as the advent of glycoimmunology.”

“Wistar is an outstanding scientific environment for me to successfully grow my research program,” said Abdel-Mohsen. “I am hoping to contribute to the Institute’s rich scientific scene by exploring the exciting new area of glycoimmunology and its role in mediating cellular processes that are central to immune regulation and human diseases.”

Abdel-Mohsen, who was the recipient of the UCSF-Gladstone CFAR Early-Career Award of Excellence in Basic Science in 2015, joins Wistar from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Blood Systems Research Institute (BSRI) where he conducted his postdoctoral training and later became a research scientist. Previously he was a virologist for the World Health Organization Regional Reference Laboratory for poliovirus in his home country Egypt.

Abdel-Mohsen graduated with a B.Sc. in microbiology and chemistry followed by a M.Sc. in microbiology from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, and obtained his Ph.D. in microbiology with a joint supervision by Ain Shams University and UCSF.

###The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.