BiographyDr. Achim received his medical degree followed by clinical residency (general medicine and infectious diseases) and research training (neurovirology) in Bucharest, Romania. At UCSD, Dr. Achim completed a postdoctoral fellowship in NeuroAIDS and received a PhD in Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Upon completion of his training at UCSD, Dr. Achim was recruited for a faculty position at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he reached the level of Associate Professor of Pathology and Neurology with tenure. At Pitt, in addition to continuing the work in NeuroAIDS, the research interests of Dr. Achim included experimental models of neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease and therapeutic approaches using neuroprogenitor cell transplantation. Upon his return to UCSD, Dr. Achim’s experimental neuropathology laboratory has focused on the molecular mechanisms of disease in HIV associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Areas of interest in these studies are: brain macrophages, neuroinflammation, chronic neuronal stress, axonal degeneration, abnormal protein aggregation, and neurotrophin and brain immunophilin response.
Research InterestsIn conjunction with the HNRC International Core, Dr. Achim is collaborating with AIDS clinicians in Romania studying the long term effects of HIV on the developing brain in a cohort of young adults surviving with the infection since the first years of life. More recently, in collaboration with the Stein Institute for Research on Aging (SIRA), Dr. Achim’s research group has begun studying the neurobiology of successful aging with a focus on resilience and neurocognitive performance. The studies involve an experimental approach using a colony of aged mice combined with clinical translational studies in a large cohort of human subjects assessed for indicators of successful aging. The predictors and indicators of successful neurocognitive aging include host genomics, microRNA profiling, and biomarker studies compared to in situ evidence of preserved neuroglial homeostasis as assessed by detailed neuropathologic assessment. Through the Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDS (IRFN) and the Stein Translational Research Program, Dr. Achim is involved in training and mentoring early career investigators. Also, the HNRC Developmental Core and the TMARC Neuroscience Core Pilot grant programs directed by Dr. Achim offer opportunities for young investigators to develop research projects relevant to mental health. Dr. Achim has mentored numerous trainees, including 14 clinical and basic science research fellows and over 40 students.