Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

Division of Infectious Diseases

Center for Care of Infectious Diseases (CCID)
Falk Medical Building
3601 Fifth Avenue
7th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Patient Appointments: 412-647-7228
Main CCID Fax: 412-647-7951

UPMC Mercy
1400 Locust Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Patient Appointments: 412-232-5992
Fax Number: 412-232-3292

Pittsburgh Treatment and Evaluation Unit (PTEU)
PTEU Patient Appointments: 412-647-8125
PTEU Fax Number: 412-647-6253

Zandrea Ambrose, PhD


Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (primary)

Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine (secondary)

Assistant Professor, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Graduate School of Public Health (secondary)

Assistant Professor, Graduate Program in Molecular Virology and Microbiology

Co-Director, Imaging Core, Pittsburgh Center for HIV Protein Interactions

Office: 830 Scaife Hall
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-624-0512
Fax: 412-648-8521

BA, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1994
PhD, University of Washington, 2001

Research fellow, HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute, 2007

Area of Specialization/Research Interest  
Identification and eradication of HIV reservoirs
Understanding the evolution of HIV drug resistance
Mechanisms of action of novel antiretroviral drugs
Understanding the early infection pathway of HIV-1

According to UNAIDS, over 34 million people around the world are infected with HIV. The Ambrose laboratory investigates therapies for HIV prevention, treatment, and eradication with the use of basic cellular and molecular virology as well as animal models of HIV/AIDS.

New methods to prevent infection, particularly of women who may not be able to control their partners' use of condoms, are essential in curbing the epidemic. Our lab is currently testing an injectable, long-acting nanoparticle formulation of the antiretroviral drug, rilpivirine, in animal models. Understanding the efficacy of this treatment in reducing plasma virus and measuring the potential emergence of drug-resistant virus will help determine whether and how it can be used prophylactically to prevent HIV.

Since the 1990s, combination antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV-infected individuals has saved millions of lives globally. Unfortunately, HIV drug resistance is still a problem and the Ambrose lab is studying the emergence of drug-resistant viruses in macaques treated with commonly prescribed therapy. Of particular interest is identifying the emergence and persistence of drug resistance in tissues, which cannot be easily examined in humans, and correlating drug levels in different tissues to levels of resistance. In addition, new drug targets for better therapies are needed and the Ambrose lab is involved in a collaboratory to investigate novel interactions of HIV with proteins in human cells, including primary T cells and macrophages, which can be exploited for drug development.

Although there is no cure for HIV, recent studies have given hope for new treatments to eliminate HIV-infected cells from individuals. With our animal model, the Ambrose lab is determining how virus persists in cells and how these cells are distributed in tissues throughout the body. While examining the blood in HIV-infected individuals is informative, it will not reveal infected cells in other anatomical sites that may not be accessible by some drugs. These studies will guide us in targeting therapies to these tissues for eradication, which can hopefully lead to an HIV cure.

Lab Personnel and Web page
Douglas Fischer; Christopher Kline; Sarah McBeth, MD; Kevin Melody; Malia Voytik; Zhou Zhong
For Pub Med search results, click here.