Catherine Lebel

Host institution

University of California, Los Angeles

Granting agency

CIHR

Project title

Magnetic resonance imaging of brain development in children and youth with perinatally-acquired HIV

Project description

Catherine Lebel's research uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study brain development and brain abnormalities in children and adolescents with HIV. HIV can be transmitted in several ways, including from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery, or breast-feeding (known as perinatal transmission).

Highly effective antiretroviral drugs administered to children with HIV have drastically increased their lifespans, and thus the number of HIV-infected children reaching adulthood. However, very little is known about the effects of these drugs on brain development. Catherine's research uses advanced MRI techniques to study brain structure and function in children with HIV and those who were exposed to HIV in utero but were not infected, as well as a control group.

Catherine's research will help understand the effects of HIV and antiretroviral drugs on children with and without HIV. Ultimately, a better understanding of brain development in these children will allow for improved treatment and interventions, thus improving their quality of life.

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