Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

 Division of Infectious Diseases

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photo Zandrea Ambrose, PhD


Phone: 412-624-0512

Office: S830 Scaife Hall
3550 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Phone: 412-624-0512
Fax: 412-648-8521
Education and Training
BA, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1994
PhD, University of Washington, 2001
Research fellow, HIV Drug Resistance Program, National Cancer Institute, 2007
Research Interest
The Ambrose laboratory takes three approaches to studying HIV infection and therapeutics: 1) transmission and prevention of HIV; 2) HIV treatment and drug resistance, including identification of new therapeutic targets; and, 3) persistence of viral reservoirs in vivo. Daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using two antiretroviral drugs is effective at preventing HIV transmission in high-risk populations. A concern in using antiretroviral drugs for both treatment of HIV-infected individuals and for PrEP is the potential for transmission or development of drug-resistant HIV isolates during PrEP. The Ambrose laboratory is studying the efficacy of long-lasting PrEP in preventing transmission of HIV, including common drug-resistant strains. In addition, the laboratory is investigating the mechanisms of novel small molecule inhibitors at preventing HIV infection in vitro and in vivo. The Ambrose laboratory is also investigating the differences of HIV infection of macrophages and CD4+ T cells, both critical cell types infected in the host. Understanding these differences will lead to the exploitation of these pathways with novel antiretroviral strategies. Finally, the Ambrose laboratory studies viral diversity and variability, particularly of drug resistance mutations, that develop in blood and different tissues before, during, and after therapy to identify the nature and dynamic properties of persistent viral reservoirs both in and outside of the blood.
Educational Interest
Dr. Ambrose has mentored undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students in her laboratory. She is a member of the graduate faculty in the School of Medicine Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program and in the Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. She teaches in several graduate virology courses and in the Medical Microbiology course for first year medical students. Dr. Ambrose also participates in several student journal clubs and judges regional and international student science and engineering fairs.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Kearney MF, Anderson EM, Coomer C, Smith L, Shao W, Johnson N, Kline C, Spindler J, Mellors JW, Coffin JM, Ambrose Z. Well-mixed plasma and tissue viral populations in RT-SHIV-infected macaques implies a lack of viral replication in the tissues during antiretroviral therapy. Retrovirology. 2015; 12: 93.
Melody K, McBeth S, Kline C, Kashuba ADM, Mellors JW, Ambrose Z. Low frequency of drug-resistant variants selected by long-acting rilpivirine (RPV LA) in macaques infected with RT-SHIV. Antimicrobial Agents Chemotherapy. 2015; 59: 7762-70.
Kline C, Ndjomou J, Franks T, Kiser R, Coalter V, Smedley J, Piatek M, Mellors JW, Lifson JD, Ambrose Z. Persistence of viral reservoirs in multiple tissues after ART suppression in a macaque RT-SHIV model. PLoS One. 2013; 8: e84275.
Xu H, Franks T, Gibson G, Huber K, Rahm N, Strambio de Castillia C, Luban J, Aiken C, Watkins S, Sluis-Cremer N, Ambrose Z. Evidence for bi-phasic uncoating during HIV-1 infection from a novel imaging assay. Retrovirology. 2013; 10: 70.
Ambrose Z., Lee K, Ndjomou J, Xu H, Oztop I, Matous J, Takemura T, Unutmaz D, Engelman A, Hughes SH, KewalRamani VN. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 capsid mutation N74D alters cyclophilin A dependence and impairs microphage infection. Journal of Virology. 2012; 86: 4708-14.
Kearney M, Spindler J, Shao W, Maldarelli F, Palmer S, Hu SL, Lifson JD, KewalRamani VN, Mellors JW, Coffin JM, Ambrose Z. Genetic diversity of simian immunodeficiency virus encoding HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT-SHIVmne) persists in macaques despite antiretroviral therapy. Journal of Virology. 2012; 85: 1067-76.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Host and Pathogen Diversity in Mtb and SIV Infection
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
Grant Number: R21 AI127066
Start Year: 2016
End Year: 2018
Title: Visualization of In Vivo HIV-1 Vaginal Transmission in the Presence and Absence of PrEP
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
Grant Number: R01 AI116276
Start Year: 2014
End Year: 2019
Title: Pittsburgh Center for HIV Protein Interactions (PCHPI)
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of General Medical Science
Grant Number: P50 GM082251
Start Year: 2012
End Year: 2017
Title: Origin and Evolution of HIV-1 Drug Resistance in the RT-SHIV Macaque Model
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
Grant Number: R01 AI080290
Start Year: 2010
End Year: 2014
Title: Visualizing the Dynamics of HIV Reseravoirs in Response to Antiretroviral Therapy
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Grant Number: R21 MH100949
Start Year: 2013
End Year: 2015
Title: Mechanisms of HIV Drug Resistance
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc./National Cancer Institute
Start Year: 2012
End Year: 2016