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

Photo of Dr. Arun Venkatesan, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Director, Neurology Residency Program

Associate Professor of Neurology


Languages: English, Tamil

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

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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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)
Appointment Phone: 410-614-1522

1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center
Appointment Phone: 410-614-1522

601 N. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Appointment Phone: 410-550-5624

4940 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224 map


Dr. Arun Venkatesan specializes in immunological/inflammatory and infectious diseases that affect the nervous system. Examples include multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, transverse myelitis, central nervous system lupus, CNS vasculitis, viral encephalitis, Creutzfeld Jakob Disease, neurologic complications of HIV/AIDS, and paraneoplastic conditions.

Dr. Venkatesans laboratory seeks to: 1) to determine how to protect axons, which are the cables that connect neurons to each other, from inflammatory or infectious damage; and 2) to understand mechanisms by which new neurons can replace damaged cells within the brain and spinal cord. Dr. Venkatesan anticipates that this research will have applications toward a number of diseases, including multiple sclerosis and viral infections of the nervous system.

Dr. Arun Venkatesan received his Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology and his M.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, followed by an internship in internal medicine at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He completed his residency in neurology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. more


  • Associate Director, Neurology Residency Program
  • Associate Professor of Neurology



  • MD PhD, University of California Los Angeles (2002)


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

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry & 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

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Podcast: Better Diagnosing Encephalitis

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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