Development of High Sensitivity Diagnostics for HIV

Dr. Conrad's research focuses on development of innovative technologies to enhance sensitivity of HIV diagnostics. Current point of care diagnostics for HIV cannot provide direct detection of HIV infection in recently infected individuals or in infants born to HIV+ mothers. Existing diagnostics for direct detection of HIV infection are based on nucleic acid analysis, which is expensive, not available at the point of care, and time consuming. Dr. Conrad is conducting early-stage development of technologies to capture and concentrate HIV biomarkers, improve sensitivity of existing diagnostics, and develop new approaches to detect HIV biomarkers. This project has opportunities for trainees at a variety of academic levels to perform experiments at the bench and to field test innovations using specimens collected in the field at Vanderbilt and in resource limited setting such as would be found in rural Zambia.

Joseph Conrad [Email]

Macha and Ndola, Zambia



Program Type

Research, Training or Education

Funding Type

Scholarships, Fellowships, Internships, Grants


Africa, North America

Global Health Topics

Basic Sciences, HIV/AIDS, Infectious Diseases, Maternal and Child Health


Undergraduate students; Graduate students (non-clinical); Medical students (MD); Nursing students (MSN, DNP); Post-doctoral students, residents, or trainees

Program Length

1 year or more; Flexible, depending on the individuals interests and needs

VU Affiliation

The program is affiliated with Vanderbilt.


The program does not have a language requirement.