Locke Jayme NewsletterUAB Department of Surgery Associate Professor and Director of the Comprehensive Transplant Institute and Division of Transplantation Jayme Locke, M.D., MPH, has received a 5-year R01 grant amounting to approximately $4 million.

In addition to the National Institutes of Health, the grant is sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The grant supports Locke’s project, “Genetic, Environmental & Histologic Basis for Kidney Disease Risk among Persons Living with HIV.”

More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and an estimated 30% of people living with HIV (PLWH) have evidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Compared to the general population, the rate of end-stage renal disease among PLWH is tenfold greater and mortality on dialysis is 19-fold higher.

While CKD is recognized as a frequent complication of HIV infection, the natural history of HIV has been modified by antiretroviral therapy, and as such, our understanding of the determinants of CKD in PLWH in contemporary practice is limited and outdated. The ability to risk-stratify PLWH and distinguish those at highest risk for future development of CKD from those at low risk is critical to optimize care and patient outcomes.

PLWH at high risk can be targeted for interventions to slow CKD progression and improve survival, including earlier establishment of nephrology care and referral for transplantation; while identification of those at low risk allows for the development of a living donor selection framework specific to PLWH, effectively expanding HIV+ to HIV+ transplantation to include living donors.

Locke will work with her lab, Transplant Epidemiology and Analytics in Medicine (TEAM) in order to complete the project. With TEAM, Locke looks forward to advancing treatment, including transplantation, for those with HIV and CKD.

“We are excited to contribute to available research on the impact of CKD among PLWH,” said Locke. “Our team is proud to take on a project of this magnitude where we aim to support improved patient outcomes and reduce disparities for vulnerable populations.”

Department of Surgery Chair Herbert Chen, M.D., FACS, is proud of Locke and TEAM for their unwavering dedication to furthering the field of transplantation and medicine.

“Dr. Locke and her lab members are wonderful researchers who actively work to improve the lives of patients in vulnerable populations,” said Chen. “Locke demonstrates a grit for improved patient experience and outcome that is inspiring to many in our department and across the field of medicine.”