Research Roundup: promising HIV vaccine to go to human trials, immunizing against stress and more!

Welcome to this week’s Research Roundup. These Friday posts aim to inform our readers about the many stories that relate to animal research each week. Do you have an animal research story we should include in next week’s Research Roundup? You can send it to us via our Facebook page or through the contact form on the website.

  • HIV vaccine candidate provides promising results. An experimental HIV vaccine has protected  mice, guinea pigs and monkeys from dozens of HIV strains — now human trials are set to begin in the second half of 2019. To accomplish this feat, the researchers began by detecting powerful HIV antibodies that can neutralize several strains of the virus. They then elicited those antibodies with a vaccine based on the structure of the HIV surface protein where the antibodies bind. NIAID director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stated, “this elegant study is a potentially important step forward in the ongoing quest to develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine.” Published in Nature Medicine.

  • Overtaxing working memory disrupts brain synchrony. We know that the brain can only hold seven items, plus or minus two for attention and cognitive tasks — and now we understand the neural underpinnings why. By recording brain waves in monkeys during a working memory task, scientists found that the brain areas associated with working memory communicated less with one another when overtaxed. This research has major consequences for understanding cognitive disorders and how we define intelligence and consciousness. Published in Cerebral Cortex.