NHMRC Research Fellow, NeuRA
Senior Lecturer, UNSW
Affiliate, St Vincent’s Hospital Applied Medical Research Centre
+612 9399 1880
Dr Cysique’s cursus includes a PhD (09/2005, UNSW) in the neuropsychology of HIV infection, a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship at the prestigious HIV Neurobehavioral Research Centre (University of California San Diego, UCSD) where she was trained in the neuropsychology of HIV and Hep C. While at UCSD, Dr Cysique also received training in MRI of HIV and HCV at the Laboratory of Cognitive Imaging. Upon her return to Australia in 2008, she was awarded a 3-year Brain Sciences UNSW fellowship, and subsequently a 3-year NHMRC project grant and, several industries’ support grants. In 2009, Dr Cysique became a visiting research officer at Neuroscience Research Australia in the Brain Structure and Functions Theme where she received training in Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and further training in MRI and DTI. In 2013, Dr Cysique was awarded a 4-year NHMRC Clinical Career Development Fellowship to pursue her independent research career into the chronic effects of HIV on brain functions. In June 2013, Dr Cysique was promoted to Senior Lecturer at UNSW Medicine. She is chief investigator on one multi-center international trial (Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment- START), one multi-sites overseas study in Canada (Brain Health Now in HIV), and seven national studies/trials and leader of the HIV and Brain Ageing studies at NeuRA/UNSW. Dr Cysique has started to develop an angle of research into effects of alcohol on brain functions in teenagers in collaboration with Prof Caroline Rae, the study investigates the integrity of the white matter structure in teenagers who binge versus those who are alcohol abstainers.
KIMBERLEY BASSETT Masters student
DR VINCENT OXENHAM Research Associate
NICOLA EARLS Masters Student
JOSHUA HOOD Research Assistant
THOMAS GATES Research Associate
MADDIE NICHOLS Research Assistant
To determine the contribution of peripheral blood mononuclear cells' (PBMCs) HIV DNA levels to HIV-associated dementia (HAD) and non-demented HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in chronically HIV-infected adults with long-term viral suppression on combined antiretroviral treatment (cART). PBMC HIV DNA plays a role in HAD pathogenesis, and this is moderated by pre-morbid cognitive ability in the context of long-term viral suppression. While the HIV DNA levels in PBMC are not associated with current non-demented HAND, increasing HIV DNA levels were associated with a decline in neurocognitive functions associated with HAND progression.
Similarly to larger studies, APOE ε4 genotype was not directly associated with HAND, but moderated CSF levels of Aβ1-42 in a minority of participants. In the majority of participants, increased CSF p-tau levels were associated with current neurocognitive impairment. Combined CSF biomarker risk for AD in the current HIV+ sample is more than 10 times greater than in the Australian population of the same age. Larger prospective studies are warranted.
In this issue of BMC Medical Genomics Griffin et al. present a user-friendly and freely accessible HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) genomic database that compiles viral (HIV-1) genetic sequences and other relevant clinical and treatment data. We discuss the benefits and caveats of public data sharing in NeuroAIDS research, while emphasizing the importance of such novel initiatives for advancing knowledge.