International AIDS Society International AIDS Society Blog | International AIDS Society Blog | International AIDS Society

Nitasha Kumar - AIDS 2012 IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Awardee - two years on!

Posted 08 juillet 2014, 11:14 , by Guest

By Emily Shaw, Research Promotion Intern, International AIDS Society

At the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), the IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award – Special HIV Cure Prize was awarded to Nitasha Kumar for the abstract entitled, “Myeloid dendritic cells and HIV latency in resting T cells.” This project investigated the interactions between dendritic cells and resting CD4+ T-cells as they relate to the establishment and maintenance of HIV latency, and the results have implicated that myeloid dendritic cells play a key role in HIV latency in resting memory CD4+ T-cells. The US$2,000 prize is jointly funded by the IAS and the French National Agency for Research on AIDS and Viral Hepatitis (ANRS) to support young researchers who demonstrate innovation, originality, rationale and quality in the field of cure-related HIV research.

In preparation for the upcoming AIDS 2014 conference this summer in Melbourne, Australia, the IAS has gotten back in touch with Ms. Kumar to hear her thoughts on the impact the prize has had on her life and work over the past two years.

Since winning the Young Investigator Award, Ms. Kumar has continued to further her work with the same body of research. She describes the award as “an amazing honour for the project,” which has helped her to acquire more funding for the work she is currently pursuing. “For me personally it opened many doors to network with colleagues and of course build my confidence as a research scientist,” Ms. Kumar reflected. “I do know this award did generate a lot of interest in prospective employers at the time.”

The IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Awards are presented each year at the biennial International AIDS Conferences and IAS Conferences on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention. Winners of the IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award attend the conference in the year they are awarded in order to present their abstracts and to be recognized during the award ceremony, and they are encouraged to maintain their involvement in the field of HIV by returning to subsequent conferences as well.

According to Ms. Kumar, “Attending AIDS 2012 was an amazingly exciting opportunity, so thank you again for making it happen! As a young person I felt beyond my years with the calibre of people that we were constantly surrounded by, but it was exciting and an amazing learning experience. I was inspired by the conference and the hype it created. For AIDS 2014 I am heavily involved in youth events with MYF [Melbourne Youth Force], as well as submitting an abstract and workshop proposal. I will definitely be at AIDS 2014. I really look forward to putting young researchers and young people in general on the map in the fight for HIV eradication.”

This year’s IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award – Special HIV Cure Prize will be given in conjunction with AIDS 2014. The award ceremony will be held on Sunday July 20 during the pre-conference symposium “Towards an HIV Cure,” and the winner will also be recognized with all other 2014 IAS/ANRS Young Investigator Award winners at the plenary session on Monday July 21.