The Nicol research lab efforts are focused on identifying factors that influence the efficacy of antivirals (and other anti-infectives) in tissue compartments.
We are working to describe the penetration of drugs used to treat HIV and related infections into tissue compartments such as the genitals, brain, and lymph tissue. There is a paucity of data on the factors that modulate drug efficacy in tissue compartments yet drug distribution to these tissues is critically important for HIV prophylaxis, suppression of viral shedding, and eradication of viral reservoirs.
Our translational lab uses a variety of research approaches with projects spanning in vitro, ex vivo, and clinical studies. We have active studies in both Minnesota as well as Kampala, Uganda.
Model systems that rapidly identify tissue drug concentrations protective of HIV infection could streamline the development of chemoprevention strategies. The human tissue explant model system is a non-invasive approach to evaluate concentration-response relationships in cervical tissues. Read more
Women represent half of the global HIV epidemic and yet there are few effective prevention options available for them. Host factors such as inflammation, hormones, and vaginal microbiome may modulate the effectiveness of HIV prevention strategies in women. This project seeks to explore the associations between these host factors and drug activity in the female genital tract to improve the development of future prevention strategies. Read more
It is unknown whether drugs being used to treat HIV and HIV-related infections are able to adequately reach areas of the brain where these pathogens reside. Our approach uses brain tissues collected during autopsy from individuals who pass away while receiving anti-HIV, antifungal, or anti-tuberculosis therapy to quantify and localize drug exposure within the brain. Findings will be used to improve therapies and develop curative strategies for HIV and infectious meningitis. Read more
News and Events
Third year graduate student Fan Wang participated in the College of Pharmacy 3-Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition. She competed with 13 other graduate students from across the College.
Dr. Nicol, along with colleagues from University of Minnesota and University of Michican, recently publised a review on how genetics could impact therapies being tested for Covid-19 treatment.
See Research Brief here-https://twin-cities.umn.edu/news-events/how-genetics-could-impact-covid-...
Melanie Nicol presented findings from the Nicol Lab at the 9th International Workshop on HIV and Women. Her presentation "Vaginal microbiome is associated with tenofovir diphosphate and lamivudine triphosphate in cervical tissues of Ugandan women" was selected as an oral abstract.
An op-ed by Melanie Nicol was recently published in MinnPost addressing the continued need for more awareness and research to the HIV epidemic in women.
An Le, PD3 student and 2018 Summer Melendy scholar, presented his research project "The role of MRP4 transporter in antiviral agents' disposition in the female genital tract" at the 2018 CTSI Poster Show on Sept 12.