Arun Venkatesan, M.D., Ph.D.

Headshot of Arun Venkatesan
  • Professor of Neurology

Languages: English, Tamil


Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Encephalitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology, Sarcoidosis, Transverse Myelitis more

Research Interests

Understanding how infection and inflammation damage the nervous system; How to promote repair of the damaged nervous system more

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Outside of Maryland & Washington D.C.

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

Appointment Phone: 410-614-1522
1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287
The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance) - Google Maps

Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center (now called Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., Outpatient Center)

Appointment Phone: 410-614-1522
601 N. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21287
Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center (now called Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., Outpatient Center) - Google Maps

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Appointment Phone: 410-550-5624
4940 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center - Google Maps


Dr. Arun Venkatesan serves as Director of the Johns Hopkins Encephalitis Center, where he directs clinical activities and research.  At the center he has developed a multidisciplinary program devoted to optimizing diagnosis and management of patients with infectious and autoimmune encephalitis and understanding mechanisms of disease in order to develop more effective treatments.  He also plays an active role in the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis and Transverse Myelitis Centers.

He received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1994, followed by a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology and an M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.  He completed his residency in neurology and fellowship in neuroinfectious and neuroinflammatory diseases at Johns Hopkins, after which he was appointed to the faculty in the department of neurology in 2007.  His laboratory research focuses on defining causes and mechanisms of central nervous system injury in the setting of infection and neuroinflammation, with a goal towards developing protective and regenerative strategies.  He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund. more



  • MD PhD; David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (2002)


  • Neurology; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2006)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry And Neurology (Neurology) (2008)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Venkatesan’s research interests focus on how infectious and immunologic diseases affect the brain. In particular, he is interested in understanding how HIV infection and co-morbid conditions associated with HIV (i.e. substance abuse) affect a process called neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons in the adult brain. Neurogenesis may play an important role in maintaining normal cognitive function, and disruption of neurogenesis by HIV infection, inflammation, or substance abuse may have significant clinical consequences. Through the use of both cell culture and animal model systems, Dr. Venkatesan has found that both HIV and drugs of abuse impair neurogenesis in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for learning and memory. He is currently focused on developing therapies that restore neurogenesis during infection or inflammation. He is exploring both drug-based approaches and cell-based approaches (transplantation of cells into the brain) with the eventual goal of preventing or reversing cognitive dysfunction in patients with HIV infection, substance abuse, or neuroinflammatory disorders.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

1. Das S, Ott M, Yamane A, Venkatesan A, Gupta S and Dasgupta A. 1998. Inhibition of internal entry site (IRES)-mediated translation by a small yeast RNA: a novel strategy to block hepatitis C virus protein synthesis. Front Biosci 3:1241-52.
2. Venkatesan A, Das S and Dasgupta A. 1999. Structure and function of a small RNA that selectively inhibits internal ribosome entry site-mediated translation. Nucleic Acids Res 27:562-572.
3. Venkatesan A and Dasgupta A. 2001. Novel fluorescence-based screen to identify small synthetic internal ribosome entry site elements. Mol Cell Biol 21:2826-2837.
4. Venkatesan A and Dasgupta A. 2003. Cell cycle regulation of hepatitis C and encephalomyocarditis virus internal ribosome entry site-mediated translation in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. Virus Res 94:85-95.
5. Dasgupta A, Das S, Izumi R, Venkatesan A, Bharat B. 2004. Targeting internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated translation to block hepatitis C and other RNA viruses. FEMS Microbiol Lett 234:189-199.
6. Jhaveri R, Kundu P, Shapiro AM, Venkatesan A, Dasgupta A. 2005. Effect of hepatitis C virus core protein on cellular gene expression: specific inhibition of cyclooxygenase 2. J Infect Dis 191:1498-1506.
7. Venkatesan A, Spalding C, Speedie A, Sinha G, Rumbaugh J. 2005. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infective endocarditis presenting as bacterial meningitis. J Infection 51:199-202.
8. Venkatesan A, Frucht S. 2006. Movement disorders after resuscitation from cardiac arrest. Neurol Clin 24:123-132.
9. Steiner J, Haughey N, Wenxue L, Venkatesan A, Anderson C, Reid R, Malpica T, Butterfield A, and Nath A. 2006. Oxidative stress and therapeutic approaches in HIV dementia. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling in Neurodegenerative Disorders 8:2089-100.
10. Venkatesan A, Selnes O, Wojna V, McArthur JC, and Nath A. 2006. Neuropsychological consequences of HIV and drug abuse. American Journal of Infectious Diseases 2: 90-97.
11. Venkatesan A, Nath A, Ming G-L, Song H. 2007. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis: regulation by HIV and drugs of abuse. Cell Mol Life Sci.

Activities & Honors


  • Best Multispecialty Video, Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons, 2009
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins University, 2009
  • Robotic Technology Prize Paper, Robotics in residency training: the evolution of technology and surgical education." American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, 2008
  • Special Excellence in Endoscopic Procedures, Awarded by The American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists & Johns Hopkins University, 2007
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins University, 2007
  • The "Big Picture" Award for Chief Resident, Johns Hopkins University, 2007
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins University, 2005
  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, 1999
  • National Hispanic Scholar, 1995
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