A major focus of Dr Jérôme Estaquier research program has been dedicated to study the mechanisms programmed cell death (PCD) in which apoptosis is one of the major phenotypes. His research interests are to analyze these mechanisms in the context of host-pathogen interaction. Indeed, early cell death contribute to immunodeficiency favoring viral dissemination and pathogenesis. Furthermore, the consequence and how the infected cells are dying are of crucial importance favoring either tolerance or inflammatory responses. Thus, the specificity of his research aimed at clarifying the biochemical and molecular mechanisms, in particular the role of mitochondria, and downstream research studying these mechanisms in vivo by using Non-Human Primates (NHP). These models give him the opportunity to test new vaccines and drug therapeutic approaches.
Thus, Dr Estaquier is an internationally known immunologist with interest in physiopathology of microbe infections in NHP models. He published more than 165 original publications and reviews. He was recruited in 1996 as an associated professor at Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM, France) after several years at Institut Pasteur Lille (France), La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LIAI, USA) and Centre international de recherches médicales de Franceville (CIRMF, Gabon). He joined Laval University in 2011 in the context of the Canadian Research Chair (CRC) program. Dr Estaquier contributed to various scientific committees like French National committees (CNRS and INSERM) and the National Agency for AIDS Research (ANRS) as well for different Canadian Institutions such as Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). At Laval University, a new platform for NHP models dedicated to microbe infections was created in 2011. This structure supports Canadian researchers such as in the context of the Canadian HIV Cure Enterprise (CanCURE).
Dr Cecilia Costiniuk is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Chronic Viral Illness Service at the McGill University Health Centre, and a clinician-scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Canada. Her research program focuses on pulmonary immune disturbances in people living with HIV and the immunomodulatory effects of cannabinoids on HIV-associated inflammation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been leading the Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) 328 study on COVID-19 vaccine immunogenicity in people living with HIV (COVAXHIV), which prospectively follows nearly 400 people living with HIV in Canada, with a focus on individuals frequently underrepresented in clinical research. Her research also examines cannabinoids and cannabinoid-based medicine as a strategy to reduce chronic inflammation in people living with HIV. In addition to her work with COVAXHIV, Dr Costiniuk co-leads the CTN Vaccines and Immunotherapy Core. Dr Costiniuk is also a member of the Canadian HIV Cure Enterprise (CanCURE), a research collaboratory focused on studying HIV persistence during antiretroviral therapy and developing strategies towards a sustainable HIV remission. Dr Costiniuk was a 2022 recipient of the Canadian Association for HIV Research – Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CAHR-CANFAR) Excellence in HIV Research Award in recognition of her track record of excellence and her demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of those living with, or at risk for, HIV.