Christina Ochsenbauer, PhDRank: Assistant Professor
Division: Hematology & Oncology
Campus Address: LHRB 609
Phone: (205) 975-7872
In her post-graduate work Dr. Ochsenbauer trained as a molecular retrovirologist with Dr. Eric Hunter at UAB. She studied intracellular trafficking pathways of retroviral Env glycoproteins (1, 2) and developed the first neutralizing monoclonal antibody directed against the avian Rous Sarcoma Virus Env glycoprotein (3) as well as its receptor. These reagents have proven valuable both for basic research as well as for animal models employing retroviral vector approaches (4).
Returning to HIV-1 research, Dr. Ochsenbauer pursued her interest in the interaction of HIV-1 with cells of mucosal origins (5) and began developing novel robust tools to study HIV-1 infection and inhibition thereof (6). She joined the Division of Hematology/Oncology in mid-2006 as an Assistant Professor to establish a new research program within the Mucosal Immunity Discovery Team of the NIH-funded CHAVI (Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology). Dr. Ochsenbauer's work in this area is providing fundamental underpinning to HIV/AIDS vaccine research as it has resulted in the generation and initial biological characterization of the first infectious HIV-1 molecular clones representing nucleotide-exact copies of bona fide mucosally transmitted viruses (Ochsenbauer-Jambor et al., in preparation). Using these transmitted/founder viruses, Dr. Ochsenbauer has established multidisciplinary research collaborations to investigate viral and cellular factors that affect mucosal HIV-1 transmission. With new funding from the Gates Foundation's CAVD (Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery), Dr. Ochsenbauer is working towards standardization of newly developed state-of-the-art assay methods (Edmonds et al., submitted) which will facilitate monitoring HIV/AIDS vaccine efficacy and the elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibodies.