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NeuroHIV Therapeutics Program


This program supports the development of preventive and targeted therapeutic strategies for central nervous system (CNS) comorbidities in people with HIV. Modern antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces the severity of HIV-1 associated CNS dysfunction observed in people with HIV-1. However, mild to moderate forms of CNS dysfunction persist and lead to cognitive impairment, functional disabilities, mental health disorders, chronic inflammation, and immune dysfunction. Despite the effective management of many HIV outcomes with modern ART regimens, and the long-term use of ART can also induce neurotoxicity. This program encourages discovery research to identify new molecular targets for drug discovery, preclinical proof-of-concept studies, and clinical research aimed at preventing or reversing HIV-1 associated CNS dysfunction in people with HIV.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Identify therapeutic strategies to prevent HIV-1 associated CNS dysfunction.
  • Develop targeted adjunctive therapies that, in the context of modern ART regimens, have the potential to ameliorate HIV-1 associated CNS dysfunction.
  • Conduct early-stage drug discovery and preclinical research to identify and investigate potential biological targets, mechanisms, and pathways with the potential to improve HIV-1 associated neurological and neuropsychiatric clinical outcomes in the context of chronic HIV-1 and ART.
  • Develop models of ART pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in the CNS in the context of treated chronic HIV-1 to understand the impact of ART CNS efficacy and the potential for accumulative ART toxicities.
  • Identify multi-dimensional assessment paradigms to enable more comprehensive understanding of neurological and neuropsychiatric co-morbidities in the context of chronic HIV-1 and ART that are appropriate for use in clinical settings.


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