Immunity and Viral Infections

Human Retrovirology

Under the direction of Éric A. Cohen

Research Unit

The Human Retrovirology Research Unit focuses on the interactions of HIV-1 with host target immune cells, which govern viral replication, persistence and transmission. Current studies are aimed at understanding the functional role of the Vpr, Vpu and Nef accessory proteins in HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis and at elucidating in molecular and cellular terms their mechanism of action. These studies are important to inform and guide current efforts aimed at developing strategies to prevent and cure HIV.

Increasingly, the team is utilizing human primary immune cells, biological material isolated from HIV-infected individuals and gene disruption approaches to study the function of specific genes in vivo. The availability of various humanized mouse models of HIV infection allows us to study HIV-host interactions and test therapeutic interventions in vivo. 

See the Research Unit Director's list of scientific articles.

Éric A. Cohen

Research Unit Director

  • Director, Human Retrovirology Research Unit, IRCM
  • Professor, Department of Microbiology, Infectiology and Immunology, Université de Montréal
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental Medicine) and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University
  • Recipient of the Université de Montréal – IRCM Chair of Excellence in HIV Research 

Other affiliations

Awards and honours

  • Fellow, the Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada, 2016
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, 2016
  • Université de Montréal – IRCM Chair of Excellence in HIV Research (2015-2022)
  • Pierre-Bois Excellence Award, IRCM Foundation, 2014
  • Marcel-Piché Award, IRCM, 2012
  • Canada Research Chair in Human Retrovirology (Tier 1), 2001-2015

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in molecular biology, Université de Montréal
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, USA
  • Member, CIHR HIV/AIDS Research Advisory Committee (CHARAC), 2010-2016
  • Member, Steering committee , CIHR Canadian HIV Trial Network (CTN) 
  • Member, Scientific Committee, AIDS and infectious Disease Network, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé 
Éric A. Cohen
Research Unit Director
Mariana Bego
Research Associate
Sharmin Begum
Postdoctoral Fellow
Nicolas Bellini
PhD student
Frédéric Dallaire
Research Assistant
Jeremy Ferreira Barbosa
PhD student
Jaspreet Jain
Postdoctoral Fellow
Mélanie Laporte
Research Technician
Robert Lodge
Research Associate
Isa Munoz-Arias
Research Associate
Tram Pham
Chercheuse associée
Maria Del Carmen Romero Medina
PhD Student
Samantha Sparapani
Postdoctoral Fellow
Olga Volodina
Postdoctoral fellow
Anita Del Corpo
Administrative Assistant

Projects and major discoveries


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Foundation program 2017 – FDN 154324 “Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-host interactions: from mechanisms of viral persistence to infection control”.  
E.A. Cohen (Program Leader), 2017-2024

Réseau Thématique du Fond de recherche du Québec –Santé (FRQS) “Réseau SIDA et maladies infectieuses” 
M. Wainberg (Director), M. Roger (co-Director), C. Tremblay (co-Director), E.A. Cohen (Principal Applicant, HIV axis), N. Shoukry (Principal Applicant, HCV axis), F. Coutlée (Principal Applicant, HPV axis), 2017-2021

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Strategic Team- OVV -152411 : Optimizing the VSV vector towards an HIV vaccine. “Development of a safe, effective and clinically acceptable VSV-based HIV vaccine” 
G.  Kobinger (Nominated Principal Applicant), E. Arts, B. Blake, C. Creuzenet, E.A Cohen, J. Dikeakos, J. Estaquier, K. Fowke, B. Gaillet, Y. Gao, A. Garnier, R. Gilbert, A. Kamen, C.-Y. Kang, J. Mann, T. Racine, M. J. Tremblay, X-J Yao. (Co-Applicant), 2017-2020

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – HIG133050 Team Grant; HIV Cure initiative “The Canadian HIV Cure Enterprise (CanCURE)”
E.A. Cohen (Nominated Principal Investigator and Team Leader) Principal Investigators: Ancuta, P., Angel, J., Estaquier, J., Fowke, K., Mouland, A., Ostrowski, M., Routy, J.-P., Tremblay, M.J, 17 Co-applicants and 1 Knowledge User, 2014-2018

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) – Team Grant: HIV/Aids Comorbidities Prevention and Healthy Living 2018-01-23, “Canadian HIV-Ageing Multidisciplinary Programmatic Strategy (CHAMPS) in NeuroHIV”
C. Power (Program Leader), E. Fujiwara (Principal Applicant), E.A. Cohen (Co-Applicant), J. Gill, T. Hobman, L. Rubin, N. Seidah, 2018- 2023

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Contact information

Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM)
110, des Pins Avenue West
Montréal, Québec  H2W 1R7

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Immunity and Viral Infections