There are currently 25 drugs belonging to 6 different inhibitor classes approved for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. However, new anti-HIV agents and treatment strategies are still needed to confront the emergence of drug resistance and various adverse effects associated with long-term use of antiretroviral therapy and the inability to cure infected individuals. Visual, HIV full replication assays developed in my laboratory were implemented in high-throughput compound and genome-wide siRNA screens, which allowed the identification of a few thousand novel small molecules with potent anti-retroviral activity and a few hundred host factors required for HIV infection, respectively. Moreover, we engaged in the development of phenotypic assay systems that allow the identification of activators of latent HIV as a potential therapeutic approach to cure infected individuals and for compounds that interfere with the replication of human and avian influenza viruses. The identified compounds and host factors are opening unexplored avenues to novel antiviral drug and target discovery and validation, and should feed the drug development pipeline in the near future.

Profile of Group Leader
Peter Sommer obtained his PhD from the Saarland University, Hamburg, Germany working on the molecular and functional characterization of herpesviral and human dUTPases. He then joined the Institut Pasteur in Paris as a postdoctoral fellow. His studies were focused on the contribution of different cell compartments to the mechanisms leading to HIV/SIV persistence and pathogenesis in vivo and the regulation of eukaryotic gene expression in the context of higher order chromatin structures and nuclear architecture. He joined IP-Korea in 2006 and is team head of the "Cell Biology of Retroviruses" group.