Cristian Achim

Title(s)Adjunct Professor, Psychiatry
SchoolVc-health Sciences-schools
Address9500 Gilman Drive #
La Jolla CA 92093
vCardDownload vCard

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview


    Dr. 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 Interests

    In 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.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Brain Amyloid and HAND in the cART era
    NIH/NIMH R01MH105319Jul 20, 2015 - May 31, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator
    California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network
    NIH U24MH100928May 1, 2013 - Feb 28, 2023
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Long Term Effects of Chronic HIV Infection on the Developing Brain
    NIH/NIMH R01MH094159Sep 16, 2011 - May 31, 2016
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC)
    NIH P50DA026306Dec 1, 2008 - Dec 31, 2019
    Role: Co-Investigator
    TLR Gene Expression in HIV Neurocognitive Disorder
    NIH/NIMH R21MH078728Sep 17, 2008 - Jun 30, 2011
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Immunophilins in the neuroglial response to HIV infection
    NIH/NIMH R21MH076681Sep 27, 2007 - Feb 28, 2010
    Role: Principal Investigator
    HIV Neuropathogenesis in a Cohort of Long-Term Surviving Young Adults in Romania
    NIH/NIMH R21MH077487Jan 1, 2007 - Dec 31, 2008
    Role: Principal Investigator
    PET Imaging of Amyloid in the HIV Brain
    NIH/NIMH R21MH072529Apr 11, 2005 - Mar 31, 2008
    Role: Principal Investigator
    HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center
    NIH P30MH062512Apr 24, 2001 - Jan 31, 2026
    Role: Co-Investigator
    NIH/NIMH R01MH058528Sep 30, 1998 - May 31, 2004
    Role: Principal Investigator
    NIH/NINDS R01NS035419Sep 30, 1995 - Jul 31, 1999
    Role: Principal Investigator
    NIH/NINDS R29NS033429May 1, 1995 - Feb 29, 2000
    Role: Principal Investigator