Sample Projects

In recognition of the complex biological, behavioral, environmental, and health disparity aspects of heart, lung, blood and sleep comorbidities in the HIV population, an individualized training plan is developed for each Scholar. The table shows three hypothetical Scholar development plans as examples.

Examples of Individualized Scholar Development Plans
Educational Background Example 1: PhD, Asst. Prof. Infectious Diseases (basic and translational interest) Example 2: PhD, currently TL1 post-doctoral training grant through CTSA (epidemiology and population interest) Example 3: MD, Asst. Prof. of Cardiology (epidemiology and health services interest)
Mentored Research Project CMV-specific T cells in HIV+ persons with cardiovascular disease Alcohol, smoking, depression, and the risk of CVD among HIV+ veterans Disparities in cardiovascular preventive care among HIV+ persons
Didactic Learning
  • Machine learning for Biomedicine BMIF 7330
  • Mircrobe-Host Interactions: Special Topics in HIV/AIDS Research M&IM 8352
  • Clinical Trials
  • Longitudinal analysis coursework
  • Genetics, genomics, molecular medicine, and microbiome
  • MSCI completion with emphasis on biostatistics and epidemiology
  • Program Policy and Evaluation PUBH 5538
  • Methods Module: step-wedge trial design EPID 8332
Experiential Learning
  • Tetramer sorting of CMV-specific T cells
  • Single T cell plating for paired α/ß T cell receptor (TRC) sequencing and RNAseq
  • Analytic skills integrating multiparametric T cell data
  • Travel rotation to observe alternative single-cell sequencing strategies
  • Analytic skills using time to event analysis and time updated covariates
  • Collect feasibility data on substance-using patients on Vanderbilt Tobacco Treatment service
  • Analytic skills in Medicare and multi-site HIV cohort (e.g., NA-ACCORD) data
  • Management of large data structure including logical cleaning
  • ICD coding criteria for selection outcomes and linking patients across years
Intended Direction
  • Improved understanding of the T cell subsets inflated in the CMV response
  • Implications of chronic T cell activation, including CMV-specific, for cardiovascular disease in HIV+ persons
  • Understand the impact of substance use and mental health comorbidity on CVD and mortality outcomes in HIV+ people
  • Assessing the impact of alcohol, smoking, and depression on gut microbiome
  • Identify racial, gender, age, socioeconomic, and other factors associated with sub-optimal screening, treatment, and effective control of cardiovascular disease risk in HIV+ persons
  • Identify priority areas for improving cardiovascular care in the HIV population
Potential K Submission
  • CMV-specific T cells and the risk of prevalent and incident cardiovascular events in a cohort of HIV+ and HIV- Veterans
  • Smoking, alcohol, depression, the microbiome, and the risk of CVD: Examining underlying mechanism and pilot intervention study
  • Step wedge clinical trial of intervention to improve cardiovascular care and specialist referral in HIV+ persons