Dr. Kim Carlson
Associate professor of Biology, 308.865.1554

Research by Dr. Kimberly Carlson of the University of Nebraska at Kearney biology department may open the doors to a new therapy for HIV.

“We inhibited HIV replication in human cells in a petri dish,” Dr. Carlson said of research she did as postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

She and other members of the research team were recently granted a second patent on the groundbreaking research. The first patent describes the basis of the patent as: “materials and methods are provided to inhibit HIV replication in targeted host cells.” That patent was granted in February of 2004 for human gene therapy.

“That research discovered a human gene, which our team named NEBR1,” she said. “The accepted gene name is OTK18.”

“We all have it (the gene),” she said. “When we become infected by HIV, we begin making more of it, especially in the brain of people with severe HIV encephalitis.”

“We think that it’s possible that the gene may be a regulator of the immune system, overall,” she said.

According to Dr. Carlson, the second patent is also based on the functionality of the gene and for its use as a pharmaceutical agent. The second patent was applied for in December of 2003, which is the year that Dr. Carlson joined the UNK faculty.

The U.S. Patent Office granted the patent last year, but Dr. Carlson did not learn about it until this fall when she was told that she was to be among a group of researchers honored as part of UNMC 2007 Research Innovation Awards ceremonies. The ceremonies recently took place on the UNMC campus.

Other members of the UNMC team, who were in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology, include: Howard Gendelman, M.D., Gary Leisman, Ph.D. and Tsuneya Ikezu, Ph.D. Drs. Gendelman and Ikezu are now part of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience. Dr. Leisman is now at the University of Wisconsin. The patent was awarded to the Department of Pathology and Microbiology.