Retrovirology and Clinical Studies (GREC)


Principal Investigator: Javier Martínez-Picado


The current scientific interests of our group focus on characterising the immuno-virological mechanisms of viral pathogenesis in human diseases, including HIV-1, Ebola virus, arenaviruses and, more recently, SARS-CoV-2. Our programme has a translational character with the aim of investigating potential new viral therapeutic strategies, especially in the field of HIV/AIDS, through basic and applied research. Our lines of research include:

1) HIV eradication. We evaluate the persistence of replication in the presence of effective antiretroviral treatment, study the location of viral reservoirs and their consequences, and work on clinical studies focused on the development of therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing these reservoirs and eradicating the disease. In addition, our group leads the first consortium of allogeneic stem cell transplantation in HIV patients (IciStem), a project that has resulted in the second and third case in the history of HIV remission in the absence of antiretroviral treatment.

2) Extreme phenotypes of HIV infection (rapid progression, spontaneous controllers, non-progressing viremic and exposed uninfected). We evaluate the immunoviological features involved in these profiles that may contribute to the understanding of the pathogenesis of the infection and their application in new therapeutic, diagnostic and personalised patient follow-up strategies.

3) Dendritic cell-mediated HIV pathogenesis. We base our work on our discovery of the recognition axis between viral gangliosides and their receptor SIGLEC-1, as well as its role in viral transinfection and the design of therapeutic strategies that can take advantage of this mechanism.

4) SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. We collaborate in projects that include the interaction between the virus and the host through immuno-genomic studies of cases of severe disease, the capacity of exosomes to transport viral antigens, the use of CRISPR to identify potential cellular factors relevant to virus replication, the development of lung/brain organoid models to study potential antiviral and anti-inflammatory therapies, and the long-term effects of the disease in paediatric patients.

Keywords: prevention, eradication and functional cure, new treatments and resistance to antiretrovirals, immunopathogenesis
Principal Investigator

Javier Martínez-Picado

Javier Martinez-Picado is a Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) research professor at IrsiCaixa — which has as its mission to advance clinical research and translate results into patient care — and an associate professor at the University of Vic...


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