Laboratory of Neuroimmunology

The Laboratory of Neuroimmunology currently located on the third floor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, was established in 2003, and directed by Dr. Jun Tan from 2003-2007. In 2007, Dr. Brian Giunta, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, assumed directorship of the facility.

The current focus of the Laboratory is on the development of novel treatments for HIV- associated neuropsychiatric disorders (HAND), and its related Alzheimer's-like pathology.

Current studies include:

  • using a novel model of HIV dementia with amyloid deposition in mice and demonstrating that the green tea derived compound, EGCG, is protective against both HIV-1 Tat induced neuronal damage, as well microglia dysfunction resulting in increased brain amyloid deposition; currently, studies are attempting to increase the oral bioavailability of EGCG with add-on treatments for both the prophylaxis and treatment of HAND.
  • studying the role of both microglial and neuronal insulin resistance caused by HIV-1 proteins, which ultimately leads to neuronal damage and death, reflected by cognitive impairment in mice.
  • collecting blood samples from patients infected with HIV, to determine levels of peripheral amyloid beta as both prognostic and treatment indicators.