The Center for HIV, Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services (CHIPTS) runs an annual mentored pilot grant program that emphasizes mentored research awards for investigators (ranging from Doctoral Students to Assistant Professors). Awardees submitted innovative and transformative domestic and international social, behavioral, policy, and combination biobehavioral pilot studies that intend to produce data and experiences that will support future funded grants and or career development for early-stage investigators. Proposals have a focus on the intersection of HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention and mental health and/or substance use comorbidities. Proposals may budget up to $50,000 in total costs and must be able to be completed within 12 months from date of award. Investigators were from any Southern California university, college, healthcare organization, or community-based organization (CBO) and were matched with a UCLA CHIPTS faculty mentor/sponsor. We are currently not accepting any submissions and applications will be open again in Spring 2018.

2017 Call for Pilot Grant Program Applications

This year we were able to award three grants to the following investigators:

“Impact of Methamphetamine use and HIV infection on Cardiovascular Risk”

Dr. Janine Trevillyan, with mentors Drs. Currier & Shoptaw

This project aims to determine differences in plasma biomarkers of cardiovascular and periodontal disease in individuals with and without HIV infection, along with the impact of methamphetamine, and thus determine the relative contributions of HIV and methamphetamine to cardiovascular risk. Specifically, this study will examine the difference in plasma biomarkers of cardiovascular disease between HIV negative and positive individuals who are non-users or heavy users of methamphetamine from the mStudy cohort samples. The research will also estimate the severity of periodontal disease via plasma levels of antibodies against periodontal pathogens in HIV negative and positive individuals who are non-users or heavy users of methamphetamine and determine the correlation between antibody levels and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk.

“Integrated Psychoactive Substance Use and Mental Health Service for Men Who Have Sex with Men in China” 

Dr. Chunqing Lin, with mentor Dr. Li Li

This study will identify the barriers to provision and utilization of psychoactive substance use and mental health-related screening, referral, and treatment services for MSM in Guangdong Province, in southern China. Additionally, the research will investigate the mental health and substance use-related clinical needs and service utilization patterns among MSM and devise strategies to provide integrated mental health and psychoactive substance use prevention, diagnosis and care, with special consideration of incorporating existing evidence-based screening and intervention tools into the current healthcare system, particularly in primary care settings.

“Changes in the microbiome due to HIV infection: What do substance use and obesity have to do with it?” 

Mr. Ryan Cook (Doctoral Student), with mentor Dr. Gorbach

This study will examine the role of obesity and substance use in HIV-associated immune dysregulation (dysbiosis) via biomarker analyses of mStudy cohort samples. Approximately half of the mStudy cohort of young, minority men who have sex with men is HIV-infected, substance-using, and overweight.