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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

HIV NeuroAIDS Therapeutics Program


This program supports the development of preventive and targeted adjunctive therapies for central nervous system (CNS) complications of HIV-1 infection. Modern anti-retroviral therapy (ART) reverses the severity of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction observed in people living with HIV-1 disease. CNS dysfunction induced by HIV-1 includes cognitive impairment and functional disability, chronic inflammation, and immune activation. Despite management with ART regimens, HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction continues to persist, and long-term use of ART may induce neurotoxicity. This program encourages discovery research to identify new molecular targets for drug discovery, preclinical proof-of-concept studies, and clinical research to enable a full, stable reversal of HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction in people living with HIV-1 disease.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Identify strategies to prevent HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction.
  • Develop targeted adjunctive therapies in addition to modern ART regimens that have the potential to ameliorate HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction.
  • Conduct early stage drug discovery and preclinical research to identify potential pathways and biological targets from new research findings with the potential to improve the clinical outcomes for HIV-1 induced CNS dysfunction in the context of chronic HIV-1 infection treated with ART.
  • Develop models of ART pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in the CNS in the context of treated chronic HIV-1 infection to understand the impact of ART CNS efficacy and the potential for accumulative ART toxicities.
  • Identify multi-dimensional assessment paradigms for neurological co-morbidities in the context of chronic HIV-1 infection on ART that are appropriate for the clinical setting.


Vasudev R. Rao, M.B.B.S., M.S.
5601 Fishers Ln, Room 9G27
Rockville, MD 20852