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amfAR Announces 2018 Mathilde Krim Fellowship Recipient

Krim Fellowships continue to identify and support new scientific talent with fresh approaches to HIV/AIDS research

NEW YORK, Dec. 11 2018 --- amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, has announced the 2018 recipient of the Mathilde Krim Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Research. Named in honor of amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim, the Krim Fellowship program supports promising young scientists pursuing innovative solutions to HIV/AIDS. The Fellowship was awarded to Yen-Ting Lai, Ph.D., of the Vaccine Research Center/National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, who will receive $150,000 over two years.

Working under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Kwong, Dr. Lai is applying his expertise in structural biology to understand how resistance arises to a drug in the entry inhibitor class called temsavir, which is now in phase III clinical trials. Currently, there are only two FDA-approved drugs in this class, which targets the earliest stage of the HIV life cycle, when the virus enters the cell. Understanding the cause of resistance to temsavir, which has been observed in some studies to date, could help in the development of a new and improved generation of the drug.

Dr. Lai began to contribute to the structural biology field while at UCLA, where he earned his third master’s degree, and later received a PhD in bioengineering. The Pittsburgh Diffraction Society recently awarded Dr. Lai the prestigious Sidhu Award in recognition of his significant contribution to the science of crystallography—a tool central to the field of structural biology.

The Krim Fellowship coincides with a new issue of the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, published in honor of Dr. Krim, who died in January 2018. It features tributes from amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost and Director and Associate Director of Research Drs. Rowena Johnston and Marcella Flores, respectively. It also features new research findings published by former Krim fellows.

“What we remember most about Dr. Krim is her passionate and unrelenting advocacy of science and the implementation of evidence-based policies,” wrote Dr. Johnston. “In 2014, I had the good fortune to co-author an article with Dr. Krim for this journal. In it, we discussed our vision for ending AIDS. We can think of no more fitting tribute than to imagine a role for amfAR's Krim Fellows and their research findings in realizing this vision.”

The Krim Fellowships have committed more than $7.8 million since 2008 to support the development of outstanding young researchers who have demonstrated a commitment to preventing, treating, and curing HIV/AIDS.

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and advocacy.  Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $517 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide.