The Laboratory of Biotechnology and Molecular Virology (BMV) has been part of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cyprus since 2004. The Laboratory is located in the University’s new campus in Aglantzia, Nicosia.
For the last fifteen years, our research has concentrated almost exclusively on the study of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1). Our laboratory uses a variety of experimental approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 transmission and the pathogenesis of AIDS. Over the years our research activity mainly includes studies to (i) to determine the global genetic diversity and immunological responses of HIV-1; (ii) to understand the implications of chemokine receptor polymorphisms in the transmission of HIV-1 and disease progression; (iii) to understand the evolutionary dynamics of HIV-1 drug resistance in patients treated with effective anti-retroviral therapy; (iv) to define the role of the cellular HIV-1 DNA load in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 infection and progression of HIV-1 disease; and (v) to develop swift diagnostic nucleic-acid-based assays for a variety of microbial and viral infectious agents. Our intention is to continue the study of HIV-1 epidemiology and natural history, the detection of further virus variants and their possible association with characteristic clinical conditions, investigate further viral quasispecies and try to identify differences in their capacity to effect virus replication or pathogenesis.
Our main future aims include ongoing studies (i) to understand the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 and HCV infections in Cyprus and in Europe; (ii) to understand the implications of non-B HIV-1 variants in determining deviations in drug responses and the development of drug resistance; and (iii) to develop improved methods for production of novel immonogens and original strategies to induce mucosal immunity. A major part of our research is conducted in collaboration with an international multi-disciplinary network of colleagues, consisting of molecular biologists, immunologists, human geneticists, molecular biophysicists, clinical microbiologists, virologists and epidemiologists. Such collaborations will involve the provision of clinical material, exchange of reagents or having members of their staff carry out research work in my laboratory, as in the past. In the course of these studies, we hope to contribute to the development of drugs and vaccines that target HIV as well as other diseases.