Nadia R. Roan, PhD
Nadia R. Roan, PhD
Please also visit the Roan lab website for more information.
Nadia Roan, PhD, received her undergraduate training from the University of California Berkeley, where she graduated with an honors degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She then enrolled in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences PhD Program at Harvard Medical School, where she completed her dissertation on T cell responses to the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. She pursued her postdoctoral studies at the J. David Gladstone Institutes located at University of California San Francisco, where she studied the mechanisms by which host factors in human semen influence HIV infection. As a Staff Scientist at Gladstone, she further identified and characterized novel factors from semen that influence infection outcome.
She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology, where she is continuing to study the relationship between semen factors and HIV transmission, and pursuing research to more broadly understand the molecular basis by which HIV establishes productive infection in mucosal tissues. In parallel, her lab is also carrying out investigations into the effects of mucosal factors, including semen components, on human reproductive health.
Dr. Roan has had a long-standing interest in understanding the effect of host factors on microbial pathogens of the genital mucosa. Her research as a graduate student led to new insights into the nature of the mucosal immune response directed against the most common sexually transmitted bacterium C. trachomatis. She created and characterized C. trachomatis-specific TCR transgenic and retrogenic mice, and used these mice as tools to understand the inflammatory response to C. trachomatis within the upper female reproductive tract (FRT). During her postdoctoral years, Dr. Roan continued her studies on sexually transmitted microbes, but transitioned to studying HIV-1, a viral pathogen with a devastating effect on global health. She focused on understanding the effect of semen components on HIV-1 infection. She identified and characterized amyloid fibrils made up of peptides derived from the major components of the semen coagulum. These amyloids markedly enhance HIV infection, in part by promoting the attachment of HIV-1 to their cellular targets.
Dr. Roan’s current research interest focuses on two major areas.
First, she is investigating the mechanisms by which HIV establishes infection in mucosal tissues, including the impact of genital secretions. The female reproductive tract is a unique environment that harbors a distinct microbiota, is hormonally responsive, and has the challenging task of simultaneously tolerating allogeneic sperm while avoiding infection by sexually transmitted microbial pathogens. One of the major focus areas of the lab is to understand what aspects of this mucosal environment favor HIV replication, by using single cell analysis approaches including multi-parameter flow cytometry and mass cytometry. A better understanding of how mucosal components affect susceptibility to HIV infection will aid in the development of a new class of “combination microbicides” that contain components targeting both HIV-1 and naturally-occurring factors that promote HIV-1 infectivity. In addition, a better understanding of what signals recruit HIV-permissive cells to mucosal sites of transmission will aid the design of mucosal vaccines targeting this virus. Dr. Roan’s second major line of research is to understand the effects of semen components, including seminal amyloids, on human reproductive health, and to understand whether semen constituents can serve as biomarkers for urological diseases including infertility and prostate cancer.
Postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who have experience in microbiology and/or immunology, and are interested in investigating how cellular components of the genital mucosa affect mucosal immunity, reproductive health, and susceptibility to HIV infection, are encouraged to apply for postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Nadia Roan. Requirements include a PhD in molecular biology or related field. The successful candidate will join an interdisciplinary, highly interactive team of UCSF/Gladstone scientists who are committed to identifying novel approaches to the treatment and prevention of STDs. Applicants should send their CV and names of three references to: [email protected]
The J. David Gladstone Institutes
University of California San Francisco
1650 Owens St.
San Francisco, CA 94158