HIV Reservoir characterisation Workshop: 14-16 september 2018


Challenges and ethical considerations of HIV cure and treatment interruption trials will be thoroughly discussed during this year’s workshops. Moreover, workshops will provide the participants with a thorough understanding of HIV quantification tools including PCR-based and cell-based functional assays, which are of great importance in therapy monitoring for the development of HIV cure strategies. An introductory course to ex vivo viral outgrowth assays and its use to quantify the replication competent HIV reservoir will be covered. The participants will receive an intensive training on PCR, qPCR, digital and digital droplet PCR methods and single genome sequencing with a comprehensive overview of clinical use of these methods and clinical significance of various HIV markers. Novel aspects of HIV persistence such as clonal expansion and integration site analysis will also be discussed and thorough overview of assays to monitor them will be presented. Given that the host’s immune system is an indispensable component of an effective cure strategy, in addition to virological assays, the workshop will present an overview of immunological assays that are commonly used to assess the competency of the immune system. The workshop will conclude with comprehensive hands-on sessions that will include statistical data analysis training sessions.

Target audience

Researchers interested in: low level RNA or DNA quantification by digital PCR and immune monitoring assays especially in the field of HIV research.

Scientific program

Friday 14 September
Introduction to digital PCR and hands-on training

08:30-08:40Linos VandekerckhoveHIV Cure Research Center UGentWelcome
08:40-09:40Ward De SpiegelaereGhent UniversityDescription of PCR based methods: qPCR and digital PCR
09:40-10:00Coffee break
10:00-12:30Practical exercises dPCRHands on practice dPCR platform
13:30-15:45Practical exercises dPCRHands on practice dPCR platform
15:45-16:00Coffee break
16:00-16:30Q&A practical exercises dPCR
16:30-17:30Clarissa Van Hecke and Sofie RutsaertHIV Cure Research Center UGentqPCR and droplet digital PCR data analysis in practice.
Saturday 15 September
Virological assessment

09:00-09:30Linos VandekerckhoveHIV Cure Research Center UGentIntroduction in HIV-1 reservoir characterisation
09:30-10:30Marie-Angelique De ScheerderHIV Cure Research Center UGentHow to set up HIV Cure studies
10:30-10:50Coffee break
10:50-12:00Sofie RutsaertHIV Cure Research Center UGentClinical applicability and clinical significance of HIV markers (total HIV DNA + Integrated HIV DNA)
13:30-14:30Mathias LichterfeldRagon InstituteFull length HIV sequencing
14:30-15:45Eva Malatinkova and Maja KiselinovaHIV Cure Research Center UGentMarkers for transcription or ongoing replication: Cell-associated HIV RNA +2LTR quantification
15:45-16:15Coffee break
16:15-17:15Marie-Angelique De Scheerder + Basiel ColeHIV Cure Research Center UGentSequencing virus, host and their interface: different approaches?
Sunday 16 September
Phenotypical and immunological assessment.

9:00-10:00Maja KiselinovaHIV Cure Research Center UGentVOA & Tilda assays
10:00-11:00Philipp AdamsInfectious Diseases Research Unit, Luxembourg Institute of HealthHumanized Mice model in HIV research
11:00-11:30Coffee break
11:30-12:30Susan Pereira RibeiroCase Western Reserve University, Pathology Department, Sekaly's GroupSingle cell assessment of HIV reservoir: establishment, maintenance and reactivation - in vitro and ex vivo approaches
13:30-14:30Magdalena SipsHIV Cure Research Center UGentMonitoring the immune system at the level of cell, tissue and organ.
14:30-14:45Coffee break
14:45-15:45Wojciech WitkowskiHIV Cure Research Center UGentBroadly neutralizing antibodies in HIV-1 immunotherapy.
15:45-16:00Linos VandekerckhoveHIV Cure Research Center UGentConclusion

Practical Information


Registration for the workshop includes registration for the minisymposium on 13 September 2018. It is possible to register from 01/03/2018 until 31/08/2018 (early bird deadline is 30/06/2018). More information can be found here.

The amount of participants is limited to 30 researchers.


Ghent University Hosptial, MRBII, ingang 38
Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent

Getting there

By public transport

Participants arriving at Brussels airport can take the train to Ghent Sint Pieters station. Frequent trains are available (

From Ghent Sint Pieters Station, take tram 4 direction ‘UZ Gent’. The last stop is in the middle of the University Hospital. At the hospital campus, follow the directions of entrance 38 (MRBII). You can find a map of the campus here.

By car

There is limited parking available on the campus.

The campus is accessible from the highway E40 and E17: E40 (Oostende-Brussel)is connected to E17 (Antwerpen-Kortrijk) in Zwijnaarde. From E17, take exit 9 (‘Universitair Ziekenhuis’ or ‘UZG’).

HIV reservoir characterisation workshop
HIV Cure Minisymposium

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