Clinical Core

Core Mission

The Clinical Core provides a service for both JHU and outside institutions, and it is a shared resource for translating potential interventions from the bench to the patient with a goal of improving the mental health of individuals with HIV infection. This Core provides the support necessary to evaluate novel clinical and laboratory outcome measures of CNS function through the maintenance and continued recruitment of a cohort of well-characterized HIV+ and matched HIV- seronegative (HIV-) subjects from the Baltimore/Washington, DC area representative of the local epidemic’s demographics. 

Core Resources

  • Clinical Outcomes Cohort: Cohort participants provide a source of plasma/serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens which will be linked to well characterized indices of cognitive impairment and used to examine markers of cell stress, neuronal injury/protection, oxidative stress, energy metabolism, immune activation and glutamate regulation in collaboration with the Biomarker Core and Therapeutic Core as well as a source for specimens for use by other institutions. 
  • Clinical assessments: The Core can provide validated test batteries critical for rapid development of clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of HIV-associated cognitive disorders.
  • Data infrastructure: The Core provides analysis of clinical data and provides statistical support for all Center activities and our collaborators. The goal is to allow for efficient querying of clinical and laboratory data.


Clinical Studies

We advise patients to learn about available clinical studies as soon as possible after a diagnosis is made. This allows patients to consider the most options available while working with physicians to plan treatment.

Clinical Outcomes Cohort (COC)

Contact: Corey Demsky; 443-447-5312 (Call or Text)
Email: [email protected]

Purpose: The purpose of the study is to better understand how HIV infection may affect the nervous system. Specifically we are looking at how HIV affects the brain, memory, thinking, and performance of daily activities. We seek to determine which tests and questionnaires are best suited for assessing functional impairment in patients with HIV. We also seek to determine if Alzheimer’s Disease or cardiovascular disease risks may contribute to functional impairment in people with HIV. Inclusion criteria: Between ages 20-90, HIV-Positive and HIV-Negative individuals, and able to consent.

Effects of glucocorticoids on cognition in HIV-infected women

Contact: Deeya Bhattacharya; (443-326-4035) call/text

Purpose: This research is being done to better understand the effects of a hydrocortisone on memory and other mental abilities in women living with HIV. In this study, participants will receive low dose hydrocortisone, which is a drug that is similar to a stress hormone that is naturally produced in your body. Stress and stress hormones impact memory and other mental abilities in individuals without HIV. We hope to better understand how these factors impact memory and other mental abilities in women living with HIV because HIV itself affects memory and other mental abilities. Also, women living with HIV may have greater problems with memory and other mental abilities compared to men living with HIV.

This study may be a good fit for you if you meet the following criteria:

  • Are a woman age 18-65
  • Are living with HIV/AIDS

Neural mechanisms of HIV-associated CNS dysfunction despite viral suppression (IMPACT Study)

Contact: Deeya Bhattacharya; (443-326-4035) call/text

Purpose or aim: The purpose of this study is to help understand brain health in individuals with or without HIV. Antiretroviral medications are used to treat HIV infection and help people with HIV to live longer and healthier lives. However, people taking these medications can still have difficulties with mental abilities such as learning, memory, and concentration. The purpose of the study is to understand how HIV affects the brain and leads to these difficulties. We are looking for adults between the ages of 30 and 65 with and without HIV, English speaking and active participants in either the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) or the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS).

Computerized assessment of memory, other mental abilities, and mental health (CAM Study)

Contact: Meghana Dantuluri; 443-287-4806

Purpose or aim: This research study is being done to assess brain health. Participants will be using an electronic tablet to complete two different surveys to assess mental health and cognition. The study takes about 30-55 minutes to complete and participants are compensated for their time. We are looking for adults 18 years and older, those that speak English, and those that are able to use an electronic tablet. Participants must be a Bartlett Specialty Practice patient.

Blood Brain Barrier integrity in virally suppressed people with HIV

Enrolling 300 subjects; HIV+ and HIV-negative.

Contact: Jason Creighton; 443-799-7247 (call/text) or [email protected] (email)


  • Jennifer Coughlin, M.D.

    • Co-Founder/Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Brain Health Program
    • Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
    • Assistant Professor of Radiology and Radiological Science
    • Associate Professor of Neurology
  • Leah Rubin, Ph.D., M.A., M.P.H.

    • Co-Founder/Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Brain Health Program
    • Professor of Neurology
    • Professor of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology
    • Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Affiliated Faculty

Browse Other Clinical Trials

For a complete list of open clinical trials across Johns Hopkins, visit the database at the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. You can search by condition, researcher or doctor’s name.

Clinical Trials at Johns Hopkins