As a student at Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in Iran, Farshad Azimi decided he wanted to contribute to the field of basic sciences. “My medical training made me realize that I wanted to complement my practical knowledge of medicine through contributions to the process of scientific discovery as a researcher with a clinical focus.” He came to Canada for his B.Sc. in 2007, and worked for several years as a laboratory assistant. Now, as a Master’s student at the University of Toronto, Farshad is using the skills he’s gained to delve into the molecular interactions of HIV1 and human host cells.
At a molecular level, when a host cell is infected by HIV-1, defenses ramp up in an attempt to shut down the virus and its ability to replicate. However, the HIV virus can counteract the immune response by targeting cellular defense mechanisms. Farshad questioned how this was possible, “I was curious to understand how these simple biological agents (some viruses have only 4 genes) can hijack complex cells in humans and other organisms,” Farshad explains.
Using techniques to analyze the biophysical and biochemical properties of HIV, Farshad’s research looks into the molecular mechanisms behind HIV-1 and host cell interactions. Ultimately, he hopes to determine the inhibitors of HIV-human cell pathogenic interactions. “Discovering new biology in this context will allow for potential pharmaceutical interventions, improving disease prevention, management, and treatment” says Farshad.
The Canadian Association for HIV Research is proud to support students like Farshad Azimi in their research through graduate research awards. Please visit https://www.cahr-acrv.ca/funding-opportunities/ to learn more.