UH Med Now
Dr. Ivo Sah Bandar: Crossing bridges in HIV research
Pictured: Dr. Ivo Sah Bandar in the lab. Deborah Manog Dimaya photo.
By Kalpana J. Kallianpur, Ph.D.
Having earned both medical and doctoral degrees, Dr. Ivo Sah Bandar is well qualified to perform translational research — research that bridges the divide between laboratory biomedical science and clinical applications. Currently at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), she is studying the immunogenetics of chronic HIV infection: how the amounts of HIV in monocytes and CD4 T-cells (two types of white blood cells) affect their function, along with the clinical consequences for individuals who are HIV-infected.
Dr. Sah Bandar received an MD from the University of Indonesia in 2000. She first became involved with HIV research during her residency training at the University of Indonesia/Cipto Mangunkusumo National Referral Hospital, where she participated in a clinical study on preventing opportunistic infections in HIV by early initiation of antiretroviral therapy.
Working closely with patients motivated Dr. Sah Bandar to enter research to help develop early diagnosis methods and a cure for HIV disease. At Iwate Medical University in Japan, she earned a Ph.D. in virology in 2009 and then completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in viral (HIV) genetics. In 2012, Dr. Sah Bandar relocated to Hawaiʻi, joining the UH medical school’s Hawaiʻi Center for AIDS (HICFA) to continue her research in HIV infection.
In addition to her research at the UH JABSOM, Dr. Sah Bandar mentors graduate and undergraduate students as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology. Working in Dr. Lishomwa Ndhlovu’s lab and with Dr. Cecilia Shikuma at the HICFA, she collaborates with researchers whose ultimate goal is the eradication of HIV/AIDS. She hopes eventually to be more involved in patient care as a clinician while conducting clinical and translational studies as an independent researcher.
Dr. Sah Bandar grew up in a small town on the island of Java in Indonesia. She moved to Jakarta at age 16 and later to Japan for doctoral work. Outside Hawaiʻi the places she likes best are Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia, Sydney (Australia) and Southern California, where her and her husband’s families reside. Ala Moana Beach Park, the site of Dr. Sah Bandar’s wedding, remains her favorite spot in Hawaiʻi .
In her spare time, Dr. Sah Bandar said, “I like binge-watching crime TV series.” Her other, more peaceable hobbies are yoga and Indonesian cuisine (cooking as well as eating it).