Monday, April 16, 2007

Satish Pillai

Satish is a good friend of mine from way back at UCSD where I first got into bioinformatics. I was lucky enough to meet up with him tonight and catch up after not seeing him for, I think, nearly 4 years. Among other things, we talked about an idea we've both had for quite some time I think, of finding alternate mechanisms for combatting HIV that take advantage of within-patient viral evolution rather than fighting against it (because we can't seem to figure that out).

Could we engineer a virus that outcompetes HIV for its niche in our body but does not cause us harm?

Much of the devastation of HIV infection actually seems to be triggered by our own immune system's initial over-reaction to it. Could we refocus HIV therapy on reducing this response rather than killing the virus?

Can't we all just get along?

Aside from being a refreshingly clear and original scientific thinker, Satish is also a great musician. Check out his stuff at his website and his other project Black Mahal at their myspace site.