Konstantinos Georgiou is a new young investigator in Satish Pillai’s laboratory, looking to translate prior experience in cancer research to the pursuit of an HIV cure. Georgiou came from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, where he explored cancer genetics and immunology.

Georgiou’s focus is on using new techniques that allow scientists to probe gene activities in single cells. He notes that, up until recently, researchers could only look at what was going on in samples containing large pools of cells. “Maybe the cells that are actually interesting are just very, very few, and all the interesting signal is being diluted to the point where it’s completely undetectable,” he explains.

“Now that we have all these new technologies where we can actually investigate at the single cell level, we can look for associations between different genes that could pertain to the presence or absence of the virus, or certain immune aspects,” he adds. “For instance, maybe the presence of the virus could cause expression of a gene that could ultimately influence whether the cell is targetable by the immune system, or even drugs.”

Samples from the trial will allow Georgiou to delve further into these possibilities.