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Norman James Haughey, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Norman James Haughey, Ph.D.

Vice Chair for Research, Department of Neurology

Professor of Neurology

Research Interests: Neurodegenerative disease; metabolomics; HIV; Alzheimer's disease; Multiple Sclerosis


Dr. Norman Haughey received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Manitoba in 1998. He then completed one year of postdoctoral training at the University of Kentucky's Center on Aging before moving to the National Institute on Aging, Gerontology Research Center for an additional two years of fellowship. Dr. Haughey joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins in 2002.

Now an Associate Professor at Hopkins, Dr. Haughey is a member of the JHU NIMH Center specializing in neurovirology and neuroregeneration. His research focuses on signaling pathways that promote the dysfunction and death of neuronal cells. In this context, he is interested in the mechanisms that promote neurotoxic processes in HIV and Alzheimer's related dementias.

Dr. Haughey and his colleagues use a multidisciplinary approach including tissue culture, molecular reconfiguration, transgenic or knock-out mice and biochemical approaches in order to identify and modify signal transduction pathways that are associated with neurodegenerative processes. Using these model systems they have described pathogenic modifications of calcium permeable receptors and transporters that promote excessive calcium accumulation.

Current research is focused on mapping perturbations in lipid raft based signal transduction pathways that lead to the oxidative modification of subcellular targets involved in apoptotic and anti-apoptotic signaling.

Another focus is the biology of neural stem and neural progenitor cells and their possible implications for diagnostic, therapeutics, cellular and molecular dynamics. In particular, he is interested in the mechanisms that govern the function and survival of neural stem and neural progenitor cells and how these processes are disrupted in neurodegenerative conditions. more


  • Vice Chair for Research, Department of Neurology
  • Professor of Neurology
  • Joint Appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences



  • B.A., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (Canada) (1992)
  • Ph.D., University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (Canada) (1998)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Haughey has developed a distinctive disease-oriented research program addressing questions in basic neurobiology and clinical neurology. One of his primary interests is the identification of biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases including HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. In these studies, blood and cerebral spinal fluid samples obtained from ongoing clinical studies (often longitudinal) are analyzed for metabolite profiles through a variety of mass spectrometry and bioinformatic techniques. These biomarkers may then be used in the diagnosis of disease, as prognostic indicators for disease trajectory, or as surrogate markers to track the effectiveness of disease modifying interventions. Dr. Haughey also seeks to better understand the lipid components of cellular membranes, and how these components interact with proteins to regulate signaling associated with cellular functions such as differentiation, motility, inflammatory signaling and survival (primarily in neurons and astrocytes). The Haughey lab is also developing small molecule therapeutics that regulate lipid metabolism as a neuroprotective strategy.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Ceramides predict verbal memory performance in coronary artery disease patients undertaking exercise: a prospective cohort pilot study. Saleem M, Ratnam Bandaru VV, Herrmann N, Swardfager W, Mielke MM, Oh PI, Shammi P, Kiss A, Haughey NJ, Rovinski R, Lanctôt KL. BMC Geriatr. 2013 Dec 12;13:135. doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-13-135. PMID: 24330446

A biological perspective of CSF lipids as surrogate markers for cognitive status in HIV. Haughey NJ, Zhu X, Bandaru VV.J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013 Dec;8(5):1136-46. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9506-0. Epub 2013 Nov 8. PMID: 24203462

Plasma ceramide and glucosylceramide metabolism is altered in sporadic Parkinson's disease and associated with cognitive impairment: a pilot study. Mielke MM, Maetzler W, Haughey NJ, Bandaru VV, Savica R, Deuschle C, Gasser T, Hauser AK, Gräber-Sultan S, Schleicher E, Berg D, Liepelt-Scarfone I. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 18;8(9):e73094. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073094. eCollection 2013. PMID: 24058461

A lipid storage-like disorder contributes to cognitive decline in HIV-infected subjects. Bandaru VV, Mielke MM, Sacktor N, McArthur JC, Grant I, Letendre S, Chang L, Wojna V, Pardo C, Calabresi P, Munsaka S, Haughey NJ. Neurology. 2013 Oct 22;81(17):1492-9. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a9565e. Epub 2013 Sep 11. PMID: 24027056

Adenosine triphosphate released from HIV-infected macrophages regulates glutamatergic tone and dendritic spine density on neurons. Tovar-Y-Romo LB, Kolson DL, Bandaru VV, Drewes JL, Graham DR, Haughey NJ. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013 Sep;8(4):998-1009. doi: 10.1007/s11481-013-9471-7. Epub 2013 May 18. PMID: 23686368


Methods and Compositions for Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
Patent # 20100137420 | 01/01/2010

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Role of Limonoid Compounds as Neuroprotective Agents.
Patent # 20100056617 | 01/01/2010

Acetylated Polyamines as Biomarkers of HIV-1 Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND)
Patent # JHU Reference #C12289 | 01/01/2013


Lactosylceramide as a Novel Biomarker and Drug Target for Migraine
Patent # U.S. Provisional Patent No. 62/026,213 | 01/01/2014

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Graduate Program

Activities & Honors


  • Award for Excellence in National Poster Competition, Fifth Annual Conference on HIV/AIDS Research, 1997
  • National Institutes of Health Scientific Directors Training Award in Research., 2002
  • Award for Neurobiology, Health Science Foundation Inc. , 2000
  • Medical Research Council of Canada., 1999
  • Foundation Award, Manitoba Medical Service , 1999
  • The Clive Greenway Award, 1999
  • The Clive Greenway Award, 1998
  • Studentship, Alzheimer’s Society of Canada , 1997
  • Canadian Professional Golfers Association Studentship, 1993


  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • International Society for Neurovirology
  • Society for Neuroimmune Pharamcology
  • Technology Development
  • The Johns Hopkins Institute for Nanobiotechnology
  • The Johns Hopkins Medicine Alliance for Science and
  • The Society for Neurochemistry
  • The Society of Neuroscience

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • Modification of sphingolipid and sterol metabolism in HIV-dementia.
    Research Faculty , Baltimore, Maryland (01/09/2003)
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Involvement of the purinergic receptor P2X4 in neuronal death associated with Alzheimer’s disease
    Baltimore, Maryland (01/10/2003)
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine - Dementia Consortium
  • Dysregulation of calcium homeostasis in HIV-1 protein-induced neurotoxicity.
    Temple University (01/01/2003)
    Neurovirology Group
  • Disruption of sphingolipid metabolism in HIV-dementia; the sinking of lipid rafts.
    Baltimore, Maryland (01/09/2004)
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine - Neurology (Neuro-AIDS group)
  • HIV-1 infected and dysfunction of neural progenitor cells.
    Baltimore, Maryland (01/29/2004)
    Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (CFAR)
  • Sphingolipid and sterol content of CSF predicts the onset of clinical symptomology in multiple sclerosis.
    Baltimore, Maryland (01/06/2004)
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Neurology - MS Group
  • Applications for the Real Time Imaging of Intracellular Calcium in Models of Neuropathic Pain.
    Blaustein Pain Research Seminars , Baltimore, Maryland (01/15/2004)
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Modifications in Neuronal Function by the Sphingolipid Ceramide: A Biomarker for Neurodegeneration? Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    Baltimore, Maryland (01/04/2006)
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine - Department of Pharmacology
  • Protecting Neurons by Modifying Sphingolipid Biochemistry
    Columbia, Maryland (01/25/2007)
    Martek Biosciences Corporation
  • Clinical and Molecular Functions for Sphingolipids in Neurodegenerative Disease.
    Physiology and Therapeutics (01/08/2007)
    University of North Dakota School of Medicine. Department of Pharmacology
  • Perturbations in Sphingolipid Metabolism that Contribute to Aberrant NMDA Receptor Trafficking
    University of Pennsylvania Department of Pathology
  • Roles for Disordered Sphingolipid Metabolism in the Pathogenesis of HIV-Dementia.
    San Antonio, Texas (01/01/2008)
    American Society for Neurochemistry. 39th Annual Meeting
  • Sphingolipid Redox and inflammatory perspectives on neurodegeneration in AIDS.
    South Carolina (01/13/2008)
    Society on Neuroimmune Pharmacology 14th annual conference
  • Modulation of plasticity and death in the CNS by sphingolipids.
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (01/17/2008)
    Pennsylvania State College of Medicine - Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Fueling neurodegeneration through the abuse of alcohol in the setting of HIV-infection.
    Special Session on Alcohol Abuse in HIV-infection sponsored by NIAAA. , Miami, Florida (01/02/2009)
    International Symposium on Neurovirology
  • Roles for Sphingolipids in regulating synaptic transmission.
    Baltimore, Maryland (01/05/2009)
    International College of Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology
  • Roles for sphingolipids in regulating membrane traffic…and traffic jams in the setting of HIV.
    New York, New York (01/16/2010)
    Columbia University
  • Sphingolipid-modifying enzymes as targets for neurodegenerative disease. Clinical neuroscience lecture series
    Baltimore, Maryland (01/22/2010)
    Johns Hopkins University
  • A neurodegenerative disease-based approach to uncover roles for bioactive lipids that regulate neuronal signaling.
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (01/21/2010)
    University of Pennsylvania
  • Alterations in the lipid composition of normal appearing white matter in multiple sclerosis.
    Workshop on NAWM , Naples, Florida (01/07/2011)
    Cumming Foundation
  • Mechanisms for the aberrant processing of amyloid precursor protein in the setting of HIV infection.
    Indiana University School of Medicine
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