Alex Liu, an undergraduate at San Diego State University who is completing an internship at the HNRP under the SDSU Career Opportunities in Research (COR) program, received the Dean's Award from the SDSU College of Sciences at SDSU's 4th Annual Student Research Symposium. The award is given to the top two oral presentations in each College, regardless of undergraduate or graduate status.  Alex's presentation was "Neuropsychological Functioning Predicts Occupational Attainment in an Indian Cohort," with data provided from the NeuroAIDS in India (T. Marcotte, PI) project.  Alex has been invited to compete in the California State University-Wide Student Research Competition, to take place in Fresno in May.

HNRP Investigators were invited to a neurocognitive assessments focus group as part of an expert panel on how neurocognitive assessments are performed, analyzed and how neurocognitive research is conducted within the NIAID HIV/AIDS Clinical Trials Networks, and other networks such as the Adolescent Trials Network.  These types of working groups develop specific recommendations for community involvement in Division of AIDS-funded HIV Clinical Research Trials, based upon Best Practices document and community consultations. Drs. Ronald Ellis and Robert Heaton will participate in drafting a consensus statement for publication to guide research in this area at the focus group convening in Seattle, Washington in April 2011.

Photo of Dr. Igor Grant

Researchers from the CHARTER study found that nadir CD4 count is strongly associated with neurocognitive impairment (NCI) even after adjusting for confounding variables that can influence both nadir CD4 and NCI. This association is attenuated with combination antiretroviral therapy (CART) use, but remains present when examining only those on CART with an undetectable viral load. These findings suggest that low nadir CD4 could represent a “legacy event” in HIV infection that establishes slow or non-reversible brain damage. Prevention of severe immunosuppression may lead to more favorable neurocognitive outcomes.

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To Cite

Ellis R, Badiee J, Letendre S, Vaida F, Franklin D, Heaton R, Clifford D, Collier A, Marra C, Gelman B, McArthur J, Morgello S, Simpson D, McCutchan JA, Grant I, for the CHARTER Group. (2010). Nadir CD4 is a predictor of HIV neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy: results from the CHARTER Study. XVIII International AIDS Conference, July 18-23, Vienna, Austria.

Related Abstract

Heaton R, Franklin D, Ellis R, Letendre S, LeBlanc S, Woods S, Clifford D,Rivera Mindt M, Taylor M, Marcotte T, Atkinson JH, Collier A, Marra C, Gelman B, McArthur J, Morgello S,Simpson D, McCutchan JA, Grant I for the CHARTER and HNRC Groups. (2010). Increased prevalence of HIV neurocognitive impairment (NCI) among non-AIDS cases in the post-CART versus pre-CART era. XVIII International AIDS Conference, July 18-23, Vienna, Austria.

The HNRC Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDS (IRFN) provides training and mentoring to clinician-scientists interested in careers in neuroAIDs research. Training experiences emphasize the interdisciplinary and translational nature of clinical problems in neuroAIDS in order to prepare future scientists to tackle emerging questions in the field. The IRFN pairs trainees with mentors from clinical and basic science backgrounds according to their research interests.

IRFN Fellows are exposed to cutting-edge scientific environments and have contact with some of the most respected neuroAIDS researchers in the world. IRFN Fellows have access to resources at UCSD’s HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC) and the Del E. Webb Center for Neurosciences, Aging and Stem Cell Research Center at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (BIMR).

For information on the application process click here

Mentoring the next generation of neuroAIDS researchers is an important component of the HNRC’s overall mission. Within the last year, three trainees within the Neurobehavioral Core received prominent awards in recognition of their academic accomplishments in the neuropsychology of HIV infection. These awards highlight the exceptional level of performance garnered in part through the training and support received from HNRC-associated investigators.

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