Avindra Nath, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Section of Infections of the Nervous System


Clinical Director


Building 10-CRC, Room 7C103
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20814



Research Topics

Neuropathogenesis of HIV infection: While important strides have been made in developing anti-retroviral therapies, no impact has been made to control HIV reservoirs in the brain. Our laboratory is focused on characterizing the virus in the brain by studying the mechanisms by which the virus enters different cell types in the brain and it ability to persist in glial cells for extended periods of time. Our laboratory has shown that the HIV-Tat protein is produced in the brain despite adequate antiretroviral therapy, hence we are trying understand its role in HIV pathogenesis and in developing means to block its effects.

Role of endogenous retroviruses in neurological diseases: Retroviral sequences remains dormant in the human genome and occupy nearly 7-8% of the genomic sequence. We have shown that one of these viruses termed HERV-K is activated in ALS, and transgenic animals that express the envelop protein of HERV-K develop ALS like symptoms. Hence we are now using a wide variety of in vitro, and in vivo studies to determine the mechanism by which its expression is regulated and causes neurotoxicity to motor neurons.

Management of Neuroimmune and neuroinfectious diseases: Undiagnosed neuroinflammatory diseases carry a huge burden with devastating consequences. In collaboration with other clinicians in NINDS and other institutes, we are investigating these patients and developing new diagnostic methods and modes of treatment for these diseases.


Dr. Nath received his MD degree from Christian Medical College in India in 1981 and completed a residency in Neurology from University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, followed by a fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis and Neurovirology at the same institution and then a fellowship in Neuro-AIDS at NINDS. He held faculty positions at the University of Manitoba (1990-97) and the University of Kentucky (1997-02). In 2002, he joined Johns Hopkins University as Professor of Neurology and Director of the Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. He joined NIH in 2011 as the Clinical Director of NINDS, the Director of the Translational Neuroscience Center and Chief of the Section of Infections of the Nervous System. His research focuses on understanding the pathophysiology of retroviral infections of the nervous system and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for these diseases.

Selected Publications

  1. Nath A. Neuroinfectious diseases: a crisis in neurology and a call for action. JAMA Neurol. 2015;72(2):143-4.

  2. Uzasci L, Auh S, Cotter RJ, Nath A. Mass spectrometric phosphoproteome analysis of HIV-infected brain reveals novel phosphorylation sites and differential phosphorylation patterns. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2016;10(2):126-35.

  3. Li GH, Anderson C, Jaeger L, Do T, Major EO, Nath A. Cell-to-cell contact facilitates HIV transmission from lymphocytes to astrocytes via CXCR4. AIDS. 2015;29(7):755-66.

  4. Johnson TP, Patel K, Johnson KR, Maric D, Calabresi PA, Hasbun R, Nath A. Induction of IL-17 and nonclassical T-cell activation by HIV-Tat protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(33):13588-93.

  5. Douville RN, Nath A. Human endogenous retroviruses and the nervous system. Handb Clin Neurol. 2014;123:465-85.

This page was last updated on September 6th, 2017