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Division of Neuro-Virology

Basic Science Research


BIDMC's basic science laboratory of Division of Neuro-Virology is comprised of the Igor Koralnik Laboratory, and the Sabrina Tan Laboratory.  The focus of this basic science research is to understand the immunopathogenesis of JC virus in Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). An integrated virological, immunological, clinical and radiological approach is applied to study the viral and host factors associated with disease induction, pathogenesis and clinical outcome.

Additionally, studies are being conducted into determinants of JC virus latency and spread, as well as components of the immune response that are instrumental in containing JC virus in immuno-competent individuals. PCR-based technology allows investigation of molecular biology underlying the pathogenic attributes of JC virus and its subsequent reactivation. Characterization of surrogate immunological markers of survival in PML has been performed, and currently, knowledge is being harnessed for translational development of immunotherapies for this disease.

Finally, novel clinical entities, distinct from PML, and caused by JC virus deletion-mutants with selective tropism for neuronal populations have been characterized. The laboratory includes a dynamic group of Harvard Medical School faculty members, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, research assistants and clinical coordinators. If you are interested to know more about open positions at the basic science laboratory of the Division of Neuro-Virology, please contact Dr. Igor Koralnik at ikoralni@bidmc.harvard.edu.

Clinical Research


HIV/Neurology Center at BIDMC offers comprehensive care for acute and chronic neurological problems in people with HIV infection or AIDS.   In conjunction with the basic research laboratory of Neuro-Virology, NIH-sponsored, IRB-approved clinical studies are conducted.  Their goal is to characterize the immunological, virological and radiological prognostic factors of disease evolution. HIV-positive or HIV-negative immunosuppressed individuals will qualify for these studies if they have neurological symptoms and brain lesions suggestive of PML, or if they have a positive brain biopsy or detectable JCV DNA in their cerebrospinal fluid.  To learn more about clinical research, please click  here.