Dr. Ajay Bharti Receives NIMH Grant for HIV/Malaria Co-Infection Study

Dr. Ajay R. BhartiInfectious diseases researcher Ajay R. Bharti, MD, has received a four-year K23 career development grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.The grant will fund his mentored, patient-oriented research study, “Impact of Malaria Co-Infection on HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders.”

Dr. Bharti is an investigator at the UCSD HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases. He completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at UCSD in 2007.

In the project, Dr. Bharti will determine the impact of malaria co-infection and malaria treatment on HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment in a population of HIV-infected adults.  |  Read the abstract of Dr. Bharti’s grant

It is known that malaria and HIV infection occur together in significant numbers of people, but their combined effect on the brain has not been investigated.

Dr. Bharti will conduct the study in Taramani, Chennai, in southern India, where there is a high prevalence of both HIV and malaria. The Y.R. Gaitonde Center for AIDS Research and Education in Taramani is a clinical research site of the UCSD unit of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

The long-term goal of Dr. Bharti’s research is to develop better means of detecting, assessing, and treating HIV- and malaria-associated neurobehavioral deficits in adults.

Dr. Bharti’s co-mentors in the project are Scott Letendre, MD, and Davey Smith, MD, MAS, in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Letendre, Associate Professor of Medicine, is an investigator in the UCSD unit of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group. Dr. Smith, Associate Professor of Medicine, directs the Viral Pathogenesis Core of the UCSD Center for AIDS Research.

Both are investigators at the UCSD Antiviral Research Center and HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center.