Robert Coombs, MD, PhD, FRCP(C)
Department Laboratory Medicine & Pathology
Department of Medicine

Faculty Information

Education & Training: 
PhD, Microbiology
Dalhousie University
Dalhousie University
(206) 897-5205
Mailing Address: 

300 9th Ave

Box 359690

Seattle, WA 98104-2499

Research & Clinical Interests
Research Interests: 

The focus of Dr. Coombs' research activity is on the laboratory diagnosis and pathogenesis of HIV-1 and the quantification of viral load in the setting of therapeutic clinical trials involving both adult (Dr. Ann Collier, ACTG Network) and pediatric (Dr. Lisa Frenkel, IMPAACT Network) HIV-1 infected subjects. Of particular interest is validation of HIV-1 DNA and unintegrated episomal 2-LTR viral DNA as markers of infectivity when viral RNA levels are suppressed in the plasma with effective antiretroviral therapy.

Through collaborations with Dr. John Krieger (Department of Urology) and other investigators at the UW, a research program has been established to elucidate the shedding of HIV-1 in the male and female genital tracts and the regulation of HIV-1 shedding by genital tract inflammation (Drs. Jane Hitti, Michael Boeckh and Connie Celum).


Ramos EM, Harb S, Dragavon J, Swenson P, Stekler JD, Coombs RW. Performance of an alternative HIV diagnostic algorithm using the ARCHITECT HIV Ag/Ab Combo assay and potential utility of sample-to-cutoff ratio to discriminate primary from established infection. J Clin Virol. 2013; 58S: e38-e43.
• ScienceDirect

Gandhi RT, Coombs RW, Chan ES, et al for the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) A5244 team. No effect of raltegravir intensification on viral replication markers in the blood of HIV-1-infected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012; 59(3): 229-35.
• ScienceDirect

Mitchell C, Hitti J, Paul K, Agnew K, Cohn SE, Luque AE, Coombs RW.Cervicovaginal shedding of HIV type 1 is related to genital tract inflammation iIndependent of changes in vaginal microbiota. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2011; 27(1): 35-39.
• PubMed Abstract

Graham SM, Krieger JN, Githua PLM, Wamuyu LW, Wale S, Ramko KM, Dragavon JA, Muller CH, Holte SE, Mandaliya KN, McClelland RS, Peshu NM, Sanders EJ, Coombs RW. Post-prostatic massage fluid/urine as an alternative to semen for studying male genitourinary HIV-1 shedding. Sex Transm Infect. 2011; 87(3): 232-7.
• PubMed Abstract

Baeten J, Kahle E, Lingappa JR, Coombs RW, et al. Genital HIV-1 RNA predicts risk of heterosexual HIV-1 transmission. Sci Transl Med. 2011; 3(77): 77ra29.
• PubMed Abstract