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Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, June 7, 2012

Indiana University chemist Dragnea awarded grant for HIV-1 research

June 7, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A team led by Indiana University Bloomington chemist Bogdan Dragnea has been awarded a three-year research grant by the international Human Frontier Science Program for study of processes involved in the self-assembly of HIV-1.

Dragnea, a professor of chemistry in the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences, explained that, to understand and interfere with the stages of the virus life cycle, researchers must gain knowledge of the structural properties of virus assembly intermediates.

Bogdan Dragnea

Bogdan Dragnea

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A case in point is human immunodeficiency virus type 1, or HIV-1, which, despite intense study, still presents challenges coming from a limited knowledge of the structural transformations associated with its life stages. Dragnea's project, "Physical principles in the self-assembly of immature HIV-1 particles," will try to discover why the initial stages of HIV assembly follow a unique pathway among viruses.

The research team includes groups led by Alan Rein of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md., Paul Van der Schoot of the University of Twente in Netherlands and Dmitri I. Svergun of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Hamburg, Germany.

The Human Frontier Science Program this year awarded 25 program grants and eight Young Investigator Awards involving 109 scientists. The awardees' laboratories are located in 20 countries, including four in Australia, 10 in Asia, 37 in North America and 50 in Europe.

Each researcher receives on average $110,000 to $125,000 per year for three years. The program also announced postdoctoral fellowships and Career Development awards for young scientists seeking to relocate after postdoctoral training.

Dragnea joined the faculty at Indiana University in 2001 after postdoctoral studies in near-field optics at JILA (formerly the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) in Boulder, Colo. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay, France. His research interests include bio-inspired materials and self-assembly, nanophotonics, biophysics and thermodynamics of small systems.

The Human Frontier Science Program is a program of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization, based in Strasbourg, France. It promotes intercontinental collaboration and training in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research focused on the life sciences.

The Human Frontier Science Program Organization receives financial support from the governments or research councils of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States and from the European Union.

Lists of the most recent awards are available online at