Collins Lab

Welcome to the Collins lab!

We are located at the University of Michigan, Medical Campus in Ann Arbor, MI

Research Interests

Our main interest in the Collins lab is the molecular mechanisms of HIV immune evasion.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes a lethal syndrome (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) characterized by CD4+ T cell depletion and resultant immunodeficiency. HIV has caused a worldwide epidemic that has killed millions of people and continues to infect about 40,000 people each year in this country. The long-term goal of our research program is to provide improved treatments for people withHIV/AIDS. Existing therapies are highly effective at rendering viral particles non-infectious and thus reducing viral loads. However none of the current drugs are capable of destroying infected cells. Many infected cells have short half-lives and die within days or months. Others, however, remain in a state that is resistant to the immune system and can persist for years. To provide better therapies, our focus has been on understanding the molecular mechanisms of viral persistence within cellular reservoirs. The development of drugs that will inhibit these pathways will bring us closer to a cure.

To this end, our research program focuses on viral mechanisms of resistance to innate and adaptive immune responses. HIV encodes accessory proteins that disrupt antigen presentation and destroy host proteins that protect cells from infection. In addition, HIV can enter a latent state in which it remains hidden from the immune response. Our goals are to better understand these viral mechanisms of immune evasion and to ultimately inhibit these processes.

Still curious about HIV?

Check out this great video about the HIV life cycle

Credits:Animated and narrated by Janet Iwasa (Department of Biochemistry, University of Utah)Music written and performed by Joshua RomanMusic recorded by Jesse Lewis (Immersive Music Project)

Contact the lab

We are currently accepting rotation students! In addition, funded postdoctoral fellow positions are available (see "positions available tab" for more information about applying as a postdoctoral candidate). We are also looking for post baccalaureate gap year students - especially those with extensive undergraduate research experience and/or those willing to join the lab for two years or more.

If you are interested in joining the lab, please contact Kathy at

Follow us on Twitter @CollinsLabHIV