Benem Davids will be joining the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University as a postdoctoral research scientist in Dr. Stephen Goff’s laboratory. He obtained his bachelor’s in biology at Morehouse College and completed his Ph.D. under the mentorship of Dr. Chandravanu Dash at Meharry Medical College, in the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research. Davids examined the effect host factors have on the function of viral replication complexes. His graduate work revealed a cellular mechanism in which the activity of a host exonuclease is exploited early during infection to promote the integration of HIV-1 into the genome.
Davids plans to investigate ancient viral relics that have become a stable part of our genome, which play a critical role during brain development, learning and memory, and the regulation of neuronal gene expression.