• I am currently an Associate Professor of Medicine in the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases. I assumed the role of Administrative Director of the UAB Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) in 2007. Before joining the CFAR, I trained as a virologist, publishing over 26 manuscripts and book chapters during my research career. In current role, I am focused on advancing the impact of the center and the related HIV program projects, now in its 30th year of continuous NIH funding. During my tenure, the CFAR has experienced significant growth in center membership and engagement of new faculty in HIV research resulting in an increase in funded grants and a renewed sense of “connectedness” amongst the HIV research community. My expertise has been instrumental in the center becoming a ‘hub’ for large HIV program and initiatives, such as the nationwide CNICS cohort network, a new southern site for the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), the multi-CFAR international pilot program for those new to HIV research (Creative and Novel Ideas in HIV Research/CNIHR), the HIV in Aging Pilot Program with Wake Forest University and the new UAB K12 in HIV-related Heart, Lung, Blood and Sleep Research at UAB. I am a member of the CFAR Executive and Leadership Committees and lead the monitoring and evaluation of cores and services. I am deeply committed to the engagement of affected communities in all endeavors of the center. I contribute scientific direction and oversight to advance the mission of the center and its related HIV programs, operationalized through targeted recruitments, faculty development activities, pilot funding programs, and interdisciplinary collaborations. I have developed sustainable, equitable partnerships with representatives from other CFARs, institutions, university-wide centers, HIV advocates and community-based organizations.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2017 Comparative effectiveness of single versus multiple tablet antiretroviral therapy regimens in clinical HIV practiceMedicine.  96. 2017
    2013 Short communication: Lack of occult HIV infection among non-AIDS-defining cancer patients in three academic oncology clinics in the United StatesAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.  29:887-891. 2013
    2012 Cyclin-dependent kinase 8 mediates chemotherapy-induced tumor-promoting paracrine activitiesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  109:13799-13804. 2012
    2003 Immunogenicity in pig-tailed macaques of poliovirus replicons expressing HIV-1 and SIV antigens and protection against SHIV-89.6P diseaseVirology.  315:425-437. 2003
    2001 RNA replicons derived from poliovirus are directly oncolytic for human tumor cells of diverse originsCancer Research.  61:8470-8479. 2001
    1999 Recombinant viruses as vectors for mucosal immunityCurrent Topics in Microbiology and Immunology.  236:255-273. 1999
    1998 Demonstration of the specificity of poliovirus encapsidation using a novel replicon which encodes enzymatically active firefly luciferaseVirology.  243:1-11. 1998
    1997 Immunization of mice with poliovirus replicons expressing the C-fragment of tetanus toxin protects against lethal challenge with tetanus toxinVaccine.  15:257-264. 1997
    1997 Characterization of the expression and immunogenicity of poliovirus replicons that encode Simian immunodeficiency virus SIV(mac)239 gag or envelope SU proteinsAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.  13:53-62. 1997
    1997 Methods for the use of poliovirus vectors for gene delivery.Methods in Molecular Medicine.  7:103-116. 1997
    1996 Poliovirus replicons that express the gag or the envelope surface protein of simian immunodeficiency virus SIVsmm PBj 14Virology.  219:140-149. 1996
    1996 Release of virus-like particles from cells infected with poliovirus replicons which express human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gagJournal of Virology.  70:2643-2649. 1996
    1996 Poliovirus assembly and encapsidation of genomic RNAAdvances in Virus Research.  46:1-68. 1996
    1995 Encapsidation and serial passage of a poliovirus replicon which expresses an inactive 2A proteinaseJournal of Virology.  69:1359-1366. 1995
    1995 Encapsidation of poliovirus replicons encoding the complete human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gag gene by using a complementation system which provides the P1 capsid protein in transJournal of Virology.  69:1548-1555. 1995
    1995 Immune responses induced by administration of encapsidated poliovirus replicons which express HIV-1 gag and envelope proteinsVaccine.  13:1013-1022. 1995
    1995 New methods to study poliovirus assembly and encapsidation of genomic RNAMethods in Molecular Genetics.  7:299-314. 1995
    1994 Characterization of Poliovirus Replicons Encoding Carcinoembryonic AntigenCancer Research.  54:6359-6364. 1994
    1994 New approaches for mucosal vaccines for AIDS: Encapsidation and serial passage of poliovirus replicons that express HIV-1 proteins on infectionAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.  10. 1994
    1993 Complementation of a poliovirus defective genome by a recombinant vaccinia virus which provides poliovirus P1 capsid precursor in transJournal of Virology.  67:3684-3690. 1993
    1993 Encapsidation of genetically engineered poliovirus minireplicons which express human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gag and pol proteins upon infectionJournal of Virology.  67:3712-3719. 1993
    1993 Expression of poliovirus P3 proteins using a recombinant vaccinia virus results in proteolytically active 3CD precursor protein without further processing to 3Cpro and 3DpolVirus Research.  29:241-254. 1993
    1992 Myristylation of poliovirus capsid precursor P1 is required for assembly of subviral particlesJournal of Virology.  66:4556-4563. 1992
    1991 Coinfection with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing poliovirus P1 and P3 proteins results in polyprotein processing and formation of empty capsid structuresJournal of Virology.  65:2088-2092. 1991

    Research Overview

  • With pilot support funding i received in 1997, I demonstrated proof of concept of modified Picornaviruses as therapeutic delivery systems, leading to Phase I and II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from the NIH National Cancer Institute. These research findings led to patented technology which my partners and I licensed from UAB with venture capital backing to launch an early-stage biotech company focused on the treatment of human neurological cancers and disorders. The feasibility of this expression system was demonstrated in small animal models (transgenic mice) and a limited number of primates by expression of vaccine antigens (anti-HIV proteins) and biologically active anti-oncolytic proteins. Commercialization of the technology was pursued until the company was dismantled owing to changes in investment priorities. In my current role as the Administrative Director of the UAB Center for AIDS Research, I have contributed to published studies examining single vs multi-tablet treatments for patients with HIV using outcomes data from the CFAR-Network of Integrated Clinical Studies (CNICS) Network.
  • Education And Training

  • UAB Microbiology, Postdoctoral Research 1995
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Basic Sciences/Other, University of Alabama at Birmingham 1994
  • Bachelor of Science or Mathematics in Medical Molecular Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham 1987
  • Awards And Honors

    Full Name

  • Donna Porter