Guido Silvestri, MD, studies the pathogenesis of HIV infection and AIDS using the comparative nonhuman primate model of SIV infection in rhesus macaques and sooty mangabeys. In particular, the Silvestri lab is focused on the mechanisms by which SIV infection of natural hosts, such as the sooty mangabey, is not followed by CD4+ T cell depletion and AIDS despite chronic high levels of virus replication. By understanding the pathogenesis of the AIDS virus, Dr. Silvestri hopes to develop new immune-based therapies for HIV to be used in addition to antiretroviral therapy. In addition, Dr. Silvestri is interested in studying the mechanisms by which CD8+ T cells suppress virus replication, and to apply this knowledge to develop candidate AIDS vaccines that will generate effective CD8+ T cell responses against HIV/SIV.
As Chief of the Division of Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Silvestri oversees the administrative functions of the division. This entails oversight of the administrative staff, approving grant submissions by division faculty and trainees, ensuring appropriate allocation of division resources and mentoring junior faculty. Dr. Silvestri is involved in reporting division research activities to the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and and preparing progress and plan descriptions of division research activities for the Yerkes Research Center’s P51 base grant renewal. Dr. Silvestri also serves as the liaison between division staff and the Yerkes administration, and advises the director on issues related to the scientific mission of the Center.