Inside AFAR
Inside AFAR

Insights, Views, and Interviews

Mar 29
2:44 pm

Grantee Spotlight Interview: Shelli Farhadian, MD, PhD View MoreBACK

AFAR’s grant programs in the biology of aging are central to our mission to support and advance healthy aging through biomedical research. At leading institutions nationwide, our grantees’ hard work, ingenuity, and leadership are advancing cutting-edge research that will help us all live healthier, longer lives.

Explore more in this Grantee Spotlight Interview:

Shelli Farhadian, MD, PhD
Yale University School of Medicine
The Irene Diamond Fund/AFAR Postdoctoral Transition Awards in Aging

What inspired you to pursue aging research?
I am a physician-scientist, and I care for adults with HIV infection in my clinical practice. Many of my patients are older adults who worry about cognitive impairment. We don’t know enough yet about how or if HIV accelerates aging and age-related conditions, like neurocognitive impairment.

In your view, what does AFAR mean to the field, and what does it mean, for you, to receive an AFAR grant now?
This award will help me during the critical transition from post-doc to independent investigator. It also signals to me that the aging-research community is dedicated to improving our understanding of the biology of aging as it relates to adults with HIV infection.

What’s exciting about your research’s potential impact?
Because of amazing advances in HIV treatment, adults with HIV are living longer, and the population of older adults living with HIV is rapidly growing. I hope my research will help us to better understand how HIV infection affects the brains of these older adults, and hopefully help us identify targets for prevention and treatment of HIV-related neurocognitive impairment.

In three sentences, how would you describe your research to one of your grandparents?
I am focused on HIV infection in the central nervous system, and, in particular, how the infection causes inflammation, injury, and ultimately neurocognitive impairment, in affected older adults. I am doing this through detailed analysis of spinal fluid cells from patients with long-standing HIV infection. My ultimate goal is to identify new targets to prevent or treat neurological damage caused by HIV and other infections.