Davey Smith, MD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the VA San Diego Health System is one of three recipients of the 2012 Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS research. This prestigious award, announced today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers.
Smith will receive $500,000 per year for the next five years to support a project for HIV prevention for drug users and other high-risk groups. His research group will work to develop a system that integrates patient demographics, geographic location, drug use and HIV strain in order to map patterns of new HIV infections as they occur. Such a system is designed to ensure quick delivery of prevention resources that are tailored to specific groups at risk for HIV, with the goal of stopping transmission of the disease, particularly among illicit substance users.
“We believe this could be the key to ending HIV transmission in some of the most at-risk populations in San Diego and, in turn, other communities,” said Smith.
Smith is a translational research virologist who works both at the UC San Diego Antiviral Research Center, where he is medical director of the Early Intervention Program, and as director of the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Translational Virology Core. His primary research focus is on the transmission of HIV and finding new ways to interrupt the spread of the disease.
In 2010, Smith was one of two recipients of the HIV Medicine Association’s 2010 HIV Research Award, recognizing up-and-coming HIVMA members who have made outstanding contributions to HIV medicine early in their careers. He is also a member of the San Diego County HIV Planning Council, where he chairs the standards of care committee.