Peter Anton, MD

Professor, Division of Digestive Diseases,  Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Anton’s research focuses on gaining insights into the mechanisms underlying modulation of immune responses in the human gastrointestinal tract. While his laboratory’s efforts include studies in inflammatory bowel diseases, its primary focus has been on mucosal immune responses to gastrointestinal infections, primarily HIV. Regardless of initial transmission route, gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is one of the first compartments of HIV infection and is an ongoing “hidden reservoir” challenging full HIV eradication or the provision of a ‘functional cure’.  These translational research aims have implications in the prevention of initial infection (microbicides, PrEP, vaccines) as well as understanding the pathogenesis of viral spread with resultant immunodeficiency. His team’s expertise in cell acquisition from endoscopic biopsies and its interest in the mucosal immune system has shifted focus from studying blood and expanding research into mucosal compartments.  His team has optimized assays for isolating mucosal cells for phenotypic analysis by flow cytometry, quantified HIV viral burden in the tissue (HIV RNA & DNA) and established ex vivo challenges of freshly-acquired human colorectal biopsies with HIV to demonstrate ‘tissue infectability’. This work has provided HIV researchers with the methodology to examine the ex vivo efficacy of novel therapeutic agents moving through the HIV prevention drug development pipeline.  In combination, pharmacokinetic (PK) characterization of drug levels in whole tissues and cellular subsets have enabled PK-PD (pharmacodynamic) correlations to be determined.

His translational research team collaborates on assay development studying altered microbiota and proteomics, secreted cytokines and altered miRNA. They perform these assays on freshly-acquired and surgical samples to develop indices of mucosal immune responses. While characterizing more HIV-specific immunopathogenesis and using IBD-mucosal inflammation as a ‘non-infectious” control, the team has highlighted specific HIV targets cells utilizing safe carrier vehicles for topical drug delivery.

Dr. Anton serves as Director of the Medical Advisory Committee for the NIAID-supported Clinical Pharmacology Quality Assurance Program (CPQA), which oversees the development of compartment assays for drug quantification.  He is the Director of the UCLA Center for HIV Prevention Research (CPR) and has been Director of the Mucosal Immunology Core Laboratory (MICL) for the past 20 years of the 30-year funded UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) within the UCLA AIDS Institute.
(310) 206-5797

Peter A. Anton
UCLA Med-Div of Digestive Dis
BOX 957019, 2734 MRL
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7019