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Doctoral Student Looks Forward to Breaking New Ground in HIV Research

Romin Adhikari, a Doctoral student from Morgan State University, has set his sights on an area of HIV research that is critically important in the field of medical and public health research. He employs multipronged approach to perform clinical, basic biomedical studies to identify solutions to the deeply embedded public health issues imposed by HIV and make important translational impact on society and improving health outcomes related to HIV/AIDS. His varied academic background and passion for tackling HIV-related issues provide a strong foundation for his contributions to HIV research. By sharing his research through publication and conference presentations, he is contributing to the dissemination of knowledge, fostering collaboration, and making an impact in the field of HIV research.
Adhikari R, Witwer KW, Wiberg KJ, Chen YC. The interplay among HIV, monocytes/macrophages, and extracellular vesicles: a systematic review. J Leukoc Biol. 2023 Mar 1;113(3):255-287. doi: 10.1093/jleuko/qiac021. PMID: 36802000 (Link)

Q1: Mr. Adhikari, could you provide our readers with some information about your academic background and your primary areas of research interest?

Mr. Adhikari: Certainly, I am currently a PhD candidate in the Bioenvironmental Science program at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. My academic journey includes a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India, and a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Tri-Chandra Multiple Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal. 

In terms of my research interests, I am deeply engaged in studying infectious diseases, specifically focusing on biomedical aspects and societal challenges presented by HIV and COVID-19. I aim to address and alleviate health outcomes and health disparities issues associated with these infectious diseases.

Q2: Could you provide a high-level overview of your ongoing and future research projects?

Mr. Adhikari: My research endeavors are primarily divided into three principal areas:

Firstly, I am striving to uncover a cure for HIV. I focus on monocytes and macrophages - the immune cells that act as reservoirs for the virus. My aim is to comprehend how HIV is concealed within these cells and the factors that cause its reactivation.

Secondly, I am interested in discerning the targets of inflammation in individuals living with HIV. My studies revolve around understanding the role of various inflammatory mediators in the blood and their potential influence on the phenotypic and functional characteristics of monocyte subsets.

Lastly, my research is directed towards eliminating health disparities and enhancing health outcomes for individuals affected by HIV and COVID-19. Specifically, I investigate the potential impact of social determinants of health, such as education and poverty, in mitigating racial disparities associated with these infectious diseases.

Q3: Could you elaborate on your direct interactions with the patients participating in your research?

Mr. Adhikari: Certainly. My role is not only limited to the technical aspects of my research; I am also directly involved in recruiting participants for my studies. My interactions with a diverse array of individuals, spanning different cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, and health statuses, have been deeply insightful. This experience has allowed me to comprehend the tangible impact of HIV and COVID-19, particularly among underrepresented or disadvantaged communities. I believe these interactions have not only enhanced my research but have also honed my ability to be socially, culturally, and emotionally sensitive.

Q4: Could you discuss the potential practical implications of your research findings?

Mr. Adhikari: Indeed. My research has extensive practical implications. By better understanding the mechanisms of HIV latency and reactivation, we can inform the development of novel strategies to eradicate the virus. The identification of inflammation targets could aid in the reduction of comorbidities in people living with HIV, thereby improving their health outcomes. Moreover, my research into health disparities could facilitate policy interventions aimed at enhancing health outcomes among vulnerable populations affected by HIV and COVID-19.

Q5: Lastly, could you share some insights derived from your experience of presenting your work at various scientific meetings and conferences?

Mr. Adhikari: Presenting my work at these scientific platforms has been an invaluable opportunity to disseminate my findings to a larger scientific community and to gain constructive feedback. These platforms enable rich interactions with other researchers, providing a venue to learn, share, and potentially foster collaborations. This exposure has been integral to my growth as a researcher, and I am looking forward to making further contributions by publishing my research in high-impact scientific journals.

Thank you, Mr. Adhikari, for sharing your time and insights with us. We appreciate your significant contributions to the field of biomedical research and look forward to witnessing your ongoing and future endeavors.

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