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APEC-Australia Women in Research
Fellowship 2022
Dr Annavi Villanueva
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Economy: Philippines

Host Institution: Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Project Title: Molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 among Filipino HIV/AIDS patients

Project Outline: This study aims:

  1. To process Illumina next-generation sequencing data of HIV-1 samples from the Philippines;

  2. To identify potential DRM present in the cohort and compare their frequencies between the treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced groups;

  3. To investigate possible correlations of HIV DRM with subtype and geographic regions;

  4. To assess potential risk for treatment failure due to HIV DRM present;

  5. To perform phylogenetic analyses to identify potential transmission clusters.

This study will increase our understanding of the genetic diversity and the prevalence of DRM present in the Philippines and how it may differ across the country.

Reasons for applying for fellowship:

The Philippines has the fastest-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Asia. However, national data on HIV drug resistance and subtype prevalence is still needed. This research fellowship at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Australia will provide me with the necessary knowledge and skills to embark on vital research that will contribute to the mitigation of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines. I look forward to learning from scientific experts at the Kirby Institute and eventually taking my experience home with me to pursue policy-shaping research for our country.

Past Achievements:

I received a full scholarship from the government to pursue my MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine degree at the University of the Philippines-Manila. After graduation, I co-authored multiple publications and was a co-investigator in various international collaborative studies on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in San Lazaro Hospital - the national referral hospital for infectious diseases in the Philippines.

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