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.
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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.