• Dr. Heath is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. She also received a Master’s Degree in Microbiology and Immunology. Her translational laboratory is focused on investigating T and B cell biology in HIV infection and vaccine development, with external funding through NIH and CDC.  Her research program has focused on understanding 1) HIV specific CD8 T cell responses and how exhaustion, senescence, and inflammation impair immunity; 2) use of cell death and survival biomarkers to elucidate the generation and maintenance of robust anti-viral immune responses in HIV infection and vaccination; 3) accelerated aging and immunosenescence in HIV infection and the extent that mitochondrial dysfunction drives this; and 4) preservation of immune function and benefit of rapid detection and treatment of acute HIV. Dr. Heath has also developed primary HIV infection laboratories with nucleic acid amplification testing and subsequently fourth generation HIV testing for the detection of acute HIV. She also serves as the PI on the CDC funded program implementing Universal HIV Screening and linkage to care at the UAB Emergency Department with expansion to community health centers serving populations disproportionately affected by HIV. Dr. Heath is a Co-Investigator of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic (AVRC) and serves as PI for ongoing clinical trials for early HIV treatment and therapeutic vaccination for immune preservation. She is also active in the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN)
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2019 Enhanced facilitation and diminished inhibition characterizes the pronociceptive endogenous pain modulatory balance of persons living with HIV and chronic painJournal of NeuroVirology.  25:57-71. 2019
    2019 Systemic translocation of Staphylococcus drives autoantibody production in HIV disease 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1107 ImmunologyMicrobiome.  7. 2019
    2019 Increased influenza-specific antibody avidity in HIV-infected women compared with HIV-infected men on antiretroviral therapyAIDS.  33:33-44. 2019
    2018 Distinct systemic microbiome and microbial translocation are associated with plasma level of anti-CD4 autoantibody in HIV infectionScientific Reports.  8. 2018
    2018 Antisense-derived HIV-1 cryptic epitopes are not major drivers of viral evolution during the acute phase of infectionJournal of Virology.  92. 2018
    2018 Intersectional health-related stigma in persons living with HIV and chronic pain: implications for depressive symptomsAIDS Care.  30:66-73. 2018
    2018 Regulatory CD4 T cells inhibit HIV-1 expression of other CD4 T cell subsets via interactions with cell surface regulatory proteinsVirology.  516:21-29. 2018
    2018 Drug use is associated with anti-CD4 IgG-mediated CD4+ T cell death and poor CD4+ T cell recovery in viral-suppressive HIV-infected individuals under antiretroviral therapyCurrent HIV Research.  16:143-150. 2018
    2017 Detectable viral load may be associated with increased pain sensitivity in persons living with HIV: Preliminary findingsPain Medicine.  18:2289-2295. 2017
    2017 The effect of plasma auto-igGs on CD4 + T cell apoptosis and recovery in HIV-infected patients under antiretroviral therapyJournal of Leukocyte Biology.  102:1481-1486. 2017
    2017 Brief Report: IL-1β Levels Are Associated with Chronic Multisite Pain in People Living with HIVJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology.  75:e99-e103. 2017
    2017 Monocyte bioenergetic function is associated with body composition in virologically suppressed HIV-infected womenRedox Biology.  12:648-656. 2017
    2017 Pathological Role of Anti-CD4 Antibodies in HIV-Infected Immunologic Nonresponders Receiving Virus-Suppressive Antiretroviral TherapyJournal of Infectious Diseases.  216:82-91. 2017
    2017 Increased glucose transporter-1 expression on intermediate monocytes from HIV-infected women with subclinical cardiovascular diseaseAIDS.  31:199-205. 2017
    2017 Association of macrophage inflammation biomarkers with progression of subclinical carotid artery atherosclerosis in HIV-infected women and menJournal of Infectious Diseases.  215:1352-1361. 2017
    2017 Dysregulation of Systemic and Mucosal Humoral Responses to Microbial and Food Antigens as a Factor Contributing to Microbial Translocation and Chronic Inflammation in HIV-1 InfectionPLoS Pathogens.  13. 2017
    2017 Increased natural killer cell activation in HIVInfected immunologic non-responders correlates with CD4+ T cell recovery after antiretroviral therapy and viral suppressionPLoS ONE.  12. 2017
    2016 DNA/MVA vaccination of HIV-1 infected participants with viral suppression on antiretroviral therapy, followed by treatment interruption: Elicitation of immune responses without control of re-emergent virusPLoS ONE.  11. 2016
    2016 HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells exhibit limited cross-reactivity during acute infectionJournal of Immunology.  196:3276-3286. 2016
    2016 Identifying Symptom Patterns in People Living With HIV DiseaseJournal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.  27:121-132. 2016
    2016 Evolution and escalation of an emergency department routine, opt-out HIV screening and linkage-to-care programPublic Health Reports.  131:96-106. 2016
    2016 Use of Dried Blood Spots to Elucidate Full-Length Transmitted/Founder HIV-1 Genomes.Pathogens and Immunity.  1:129-153. 2016
    2015 HLA Class-II Associated HIV Polymorphisms Predict Escape from CD4+ T Cell ResponsesPLoS Pathogens.  11. 2015
    2015 Inhibition of the lymphocyte metabolic switch by the oxidative burst of human neutrophilsClinical Science.  129:489-504. 2015
    2014 Connecting the Dots: Could Microbial Translocation Explain Commonly Reported Symptoms in HIV Disease?Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.  25:483-495. 2014
    2014 Immune Suppression by Neutrophils in HIV-1 Infection: Role of PD-L1/PD-1 PathwayPLoS Pathogens.  10. 2014
    2014 Immune activation is associated with CD8 T cell interleukin-21 production in HIV-1-infected individualsJournal of Virology.  88:10259-10263. 2014
    2013 HIV-specific CD8+ T cells from elite controllers are primed for survivalJournal of Virology.  87:5170-5181. 2013
    2011 Initial antibodies binding to HIV-1 gp41 in acutely infected subjects are polyreactive and highly mutatedJournal of Experimental Medicine.  208:2237-2249. 2011
    2011 Interleukin-2 production by polyfunctional HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells is associated with enhanced viral suppressionJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology.  58:132-140. 2011
    2011 CD8 T-cell proliferative capacity is compromised in primary HIV-1 infectionJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.  56:213-221. 2011
    2011 Interleukin-21-producing HIV-1-specific CD8 T cells are preferentially seen in elite controllersJournal of Virology.  85:2316-2324. 2011
    2010 CD8 T cell response and evolutionary pressure to HIV-1 cryptic epitopes derived from antisense transcriptionJournal of Experimental Medicine.  207:51-59. 2010
    2009 P16-04. Cryptic CTL epitopes derived from antisense transcription are frequently recognized in HIV-1 infectionRetrovirology.  6. 2009
    2007 Functionally competent antigen-specific Cd127hi memory CD8 + T cells are preserved only in HIV-infected individuals receiving early treatmentJournal of Infectious Diseases.  195:108-117. 2007
    2006 Therapeutic immunization strategies for HIV infection.Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS.  1:74-81. 2006
    1997 Follicular dendritic cells (FDC) in retroviral infection: Host/pathogen perspectivesImmunological Reviews.  156:185-197. 1997
    1995 Follicular dendritic cells and human immunodeficiency virus infectivityNature.  377:740-744. 1995

    Research Overview

  • HIV
    Acute HIV
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University 2000
  • UAB Hospital, Internship 2001
  • UAB Hospital, Residency 2003
  • UAB Hospital, Postdoctoral Fellowship 2006
  • Full Name

  • Sonya Heath