Cristian Achim

TitleAdjunct Professor
InstitutionUniversity of California San Diego
Address9500 Gilman Drive #0603
La Jolla CA 92093
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    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/NIMH 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/NIDA P50DA026306Dec 1, 2008 - May 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/NIMH P30MH062512Apr 24, 2001 - Feb 28, 2021
    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 - Apr 30, 2000
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Kesby JP, Fields JA, Chang A, Coban H, Achim C, Semenova S. Effects of HIV-1 TAT protein and methamphetamine exposure on visual discrimination and executive function in mice. Behav Brain Res. 2018 Apr 27; 349:73-79. PMID: 29709610.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Burlacu R, Umlauf A, Luca A, Gianella S, Radoi R, Ruta SM, Marcotte TD, Ene L, Achim C. Sex-based differences in neurocognitive functioning in HIV-infected young adults. AIDS. 2018 Jan 14; 32(2):217-225. PMID: 29112063.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Bryant AK, Moore DJ, Burdo TH, Lakritz JR, Gouaux B, Soontornniyomkij V, Achim C, Masliah E, Grant I, Levine AJ, Ellis RJ. Plasma soluble CD163 is associated with postmortem brain pathology in human immunodeficiency virus infection. AIDS. 2017 Apr 24; 31(7):973-979. PMID: 28244955.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Gianella S, Taylor J, Brown TR, Kaytes A, Achim C, Moore DJ, Little SJ, Ellis RJ, Smith DM. Can research at the end of life be a useful tool to advance HIV cure? AIDS. 2017 Jan 02; 31(1):1-4. PMID: 27755112.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Rosca A, Anton G, Ene L, Iancu I, Temereanca A, Achim C, Ruta SM. Immunoassay and molecular methods to investigate DNA methylation changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in HIV infected patients on cART. J Immunoassay Immunochem. 2017; 38(3):299-307. PMID: 27854146.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Hong S, Lee EE, Martin AS, Soontornniyomkij B, Soontornniyomkij V, Achim C, Reuter C, Irwin MR, Eyler LT, Jeste DV. Abnormalities in chemokine levels in schizophrenia and their clinical correlates. Schizophr Res. 2017 03; 181:63-69. PMID: 27650194.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Rosca A, Anton G, Botezatu A, Temereanca A, Ene L, Achim C, Ruta S. miR-29a associates with viro-immunological markers of HIV infection in treatment experienced patients. J Med Virol. 2016 12; 88(12):2132-2137. PMID: 27232693.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Fields JA, Overk C, Adame A, Florio J, Mante M, Pineda A, Desplats P, Rockenstein E, Achim C, Masliah E. Neuroprotective effects of the immunomodulatory drug FK506 in a model of HIV1-gp120 neurotoxicity. J Neuroinflammation. 2016 05 24; 13(1):120. PMID: 27220536.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Soontornniyomkij V, Umlauf A, Soontornniyomkij B, Batki IB, Moore DJ, Masliah E, Achim C. Lifetime methamphetamine dependence is associated with cerebral microgliosis in HIV-1-infected adults. J Neurovirol. 2016 10; 22(5):650-660. PMID: 27098516.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Dev SI, Moore RC, Soontornniyomkij B, Achim C, Jeste DV, Eyler LT. Peripheral inflammation related to lower fMRI activation during a working memory task and resting functional connectivity among older adults: a preliminary study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Mar; 32(3):341-349. PMID: 27094339.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Var SR, Day TR, Vitomirov A, Smith DM, Soontornniyomkij V, Moore DJ, Achim C, Mehta SR, Pérez-Santiago J. Mitochondrial injury and cognitive function in HIV infection and methamphetamine use. AIDS. 2016 Mar 27; 30(6):839-48. PMID: 26807965; PMCID: PMC4785088 [Available on 03/27/17].
    12. McKenna BS, Brown GG, Archibald S, Scadeng M, Bussell R, Kesby JP, Markou A, Soontornniyomkij V, Achim C, Semenova S. Microstructural changes to the brain of mice after methamphetamine exposure as identified with diffusion tensor imaging. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging. 2016 Mar 30; 249:27-37. PMID: 27000304.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Soontornniyomkij V, Kesby JP, Soontornniyomkij B, Kim JJ, Kisseleva T, Achim C, Semenova S, Jeste DV. Age and High-Fat Diet Effects on Glutamine Synthetase Immunoreactivity in Liver and Hippocampus and Recognition Memory in Mice. Curr Aging Sci. 2016; 9(4):301-309. PMID: 27071478.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Levine AJ, Quach A, Moore DJ, Achim C, Soontornniyomkij V, Masliah E, Singer EJ, Gelman B, Nemanim N, Horvath S. Accelerated epigenetic aging in brain is associated with pre-mortem HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. J Neurovirol. 2016 06; 22(3):366-75. PMID: 26689571.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Levine AJ, Soontornniyomkij V, Achim C, Masliah E, Gelman BB, Sinsheimer JS, Singer EJ, Moore DJ. Multilevel analysis of neuropathogenesis of neurocognitive impairment in HIV. J Neurovirol. 2016 08; 22(4):431-41. PMID: 26637429.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Kesby JP, Kim JJ, Scadeng M, Woods G, Kado DM, Olefsky JM, Jeste DV, Achim C, Semenova S. Spatial Cognition in Adult and Aged Mice Exposed to High-Fat Diet. PLoS One. 2015; 10(10):e0140034. PMID: 26448649; PMCID: PMC4598128.
    17. Bryant AK, Ellis RJ, Umlauf A, Gouaux B, Soontornniyomkij V, Letendre SL, Achim C, Masliah E, Grant I, Moore DJ. Antiretroviral therapy reduces neurodegeneration in HIV infection. AIDS. 2015 Jan 28; 29(3):323-30. PMID: 25686681; PMCID: PMC4353640.
    18. Ene L, Franklin DR, Burlacu R, Luca AE, Blaglosov AG, Ellis RJ, Alexander TJ, Umlauf A, Grant I, Duiculescu DC, Achim C, Marcotte TD. Neurocognitive functioning in a Romanian cohort of young adults with parenterally-acquired HIV-infection during childhood. J Neurovirol. 2014 Oct; 20(5):496-504. PMID: 25185868; PMCID: PMC4324616.
    19. Tatro ET, Soontornniyomkij B, Letendre SL, Achim C. Cytokine secretion from brain macrophages infected with human immunodeficiency virus in vitro and treated with raltegravir. BMC Infect Dis. 2014 Jul 11; 14:386. PMID: 25015002; PMCID: PMC4227040.
    20. Soontornniyomkij V, Umlauf A, Chung SA, Cochran ML, Soontornniyomkij B, Gouaux B, Toperoff W, Moore DJ, Masliah E, Ellis RJ, Grant I, Achim C. HIV protease inhibitor exposure predicts cerebral small vessel disease. AIDS. 2014 Jun 01; 28(9):1297-306. PMID: 24637542; PMCID: PMC4071161.
    21. Fenner ME, Achim C, Fenner BM. Expression of full-length and truncated trkB in human striatum and substantia nigra neurons: implications for Parkinson's disease. J Mol Histol. 2014 Jun; 45(3):349-61. PMID: 24374887.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Gelman BB, Lisinicchia JG, Morgello S, Masliah E, Commins D, Achim C, Fox HS, Kolson DL, Grant I, Singer E, Yiannoutsos CT, Sherman S, Gensler G, Moore DJ, Chen T, Soukup VM. Neurovirological correlation with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders and encephalitis in a HAART-era cohort. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Apr 15; 62(5):487-95. PMID: 23242157; PMCID: PMC3664102.
    23. Tatro ET, Hefler S, Shumaker-Armstrong S, Soontornniyomkij B, Yang M, Yermanos A, Wren N, Moore DJ, Achim C. Modulation of BK channel by MicroRNA-9 in neurons after exposure to HIV and methamphetamine. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2013 Dec; 8(5):1210-23. PMID: 23508624; PMCID: PMC3715589.
    24. Tatro ET, Risbrough V, Soontornniyomkij B, Young J, Shumaker-Armstrong S, Jeste DV, Achim C. Short-term recognition memory correlates with regional CNS expression of microRNA-138 in mice. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2013 May; 21(5):461-73. PMID: 23570889; PMCID: PMC3660985.
    25. Joseph J, Achim C, Boivin MJ, Brew BJ, Clifford DB, Colosi DA, Ellis RJ, Heaton RK, Gallo-Diop A, Grant I, Kanmogne GD, Kumar M, Letendre S, Marcotte TD, Nath A, Pardo CA, Paul RH, Pulliam L, Robertson K, Royal W, Sacktor N, Sithinamsuwan P, Smith DM, Valcour V, Wigdahl B, Wood C. Global NeuroAIDS roundtable. J Neurovirol. 2013 Feb; 19(1):1-9. PMID: 23354550; PMCID: PMC3713197.
    26. Soontornniyomkij V, Moore DJ, Gouaux B, Soontornniyomkij B, Tatro ET, Umlauf A, Masliah E, Levine AJ, Singer EJ, Vinters HV, Gelman BB, Morgello S, Cherner M, Grant I, Achim C. Cerebral ß-amyloid deposition predicts HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in APOE e4 carriers. AIDS. 2012 Nov 28; 26(18):2327-35. PMID: 23018443; PMCID: PMC3576852.
    27. Soontornniyomkij V, Risbrough VB, Young JW, Soontornniyomkij B, Jeste DV, Achim C. Hippocampal calbindin-1 immunoreactivity correlate of recognition memory performance in aged mice. Neurosci Lett. 2012 May 10; 516(1):161-5. PMID: 22503902; PMCID: PMC3338865.
    28. Soontornniyomkij V, Soontornniyomkij B, Moore DJ, Gouaux B, Masliah E, Tung S, Vinters HV, Grant I, Achim C. Antioxidant sestrin-2 redistribution to neuronal soma in human immunodeficiency virus-associated neurocognitive disorders. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2012 Sep; 7(3):579-90. PMID: 22450766; PMCID: PMC3573843.
    29. Soontornniyomkij V, Everall IP, Moore DJ, Gouaux B, Tatro ET, Gospodarev V, Masliah E, Yin NS, Vinters HV, Achim C. Increased cortical expression of FK506 binding protein-51 in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. J Neurovirol. 2012 Aug; 18(4):313-22. PMID: 22234543; PMCID: PMC3374917.
    30. Crews L, Ruf R, Patrick C, Dumaop W, Trejo-Morales M, Achim C, Rockenstein E, Masliah E. Phosphorylation of collapsin response mediator protein-2 disrupts neuronal maturation in a model of adult neurogenesis: Implications for neurodegenerative disorders. Mol Neurodegener. 2011 Sep 24; 6:67. PMID: 21943307; PMCID: PMC3204248.
    31. Soontornniyomkij B, Everall IP, Chana G, Tsuang MT, Achim C, Soontornniyomkij V. Tyrosine kinase B protein expression is reduced in the cerebellum of patients with bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2011 Oct; 133(3):646-54. PMID: 21612826; PMCID: PMC3163025.
    32. Patrick C, Crews L, Desplats P, Dumaop W, Rockenstein E, Achim C, Everall IP, Masliah E. Increased CDK5 expression in HIV encephalitis contributes to neurodegeneration via tau phosphorylation and is reversed with Roscovitine. Am J Pathol. 2011 Apr; 178(4):1646-61. PMID: 21435449; PMCID: PMC3078446.
    33. Soontornniyomkij V, Risbrough VB, Young JW, Soontornniyomkij B, Jeste DV, Achim C. Increased hippocampal accumulation of autophagosomes predicts short-term recognition memory impairment in aged mice. Age (Dordr). 2012 Apr; 34(2):305-16. PMID: 21431350; PMCID: PMC3312638.
    34. Moore DJ, Arce M, Moseley S, McCutchan JA, Marquie-Beck J, Franklin DR, Vaida F, Achim C, McArthur J, Morgello S, Simpson DM, Gelman BB, Collier AC, Marra CM, Clifford DB, Heaton RK, Grant I. Family history of dementia predicts worse neuropsychological functioning among HIV-infected persons. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011; 23(3):316-23. PMID: 21948893; PMCID: PMC3279193.
    35. Kang YJ, Digicaylioglu M, Russo R, Kaul M, Achim C, Fletcher L, Masliah E, Lipton SA. Erythropoietin plus insulin-like growth factor-I protects against neuronal damage in a murine model of human immunodeficiency virus-associated neurocognitive disorders. Ann Neurol. 2010 Sep; 68(3):342-52. PMID: 20818790; PMCID: PMC3733362.
    36. Morgan JT, Chana G, Pardo CA, Achim C, Semendeferi K, Buckwalter J, Courchesne E, Everall IP. Microglial activation and increased microglial density observed in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in autism. Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Aug 15; 68(4):368-76. PMID: 20674603.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Soontornniyomkij V, Risbrough VB, Young JW, Wallace CK, Soontornniyomkij B, Jeste DV, Achim C. Short-term recognition memory impairment is associated with decreased expression of FK506 binding protein 51 in the aged mouse brain. Age (Dordr). 2010 Sep; 32(3):309-22. PMID: 20422297; PMCID: PMC2926850.
    38. Tatro ET, Scott ER, Nguyen TB, Salaria S, Banerjee S, Moore DJ, Masliah E, Achim C, Everall IP. Evidence for Alteration of Gene Regulatory Networks through MicroRNAs of the HIV-infected brain: novel analysis of retrospective cases. PLoS One. 2010 Apr 26; 5(4):e10337. PMID: 20436668; PMCID: PMC2859933.
    39. Nguyen TB, Lucero GR, Chana G, Hult BJ, Tatro ET, Masliah E, Grant I, Achim C, Everall IP. Glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK-3beta) inhibitors AR-A014418 and B6B3O prevent human immunodeficiency virus-mediated neurotoxicity in primary human neurons. J Neurovirol. 2009 Sep; 15(5-6):434-8. PMID: 19688630; PMCID: PMC3065998.
    40. Tatro ET, Everall IP, Kaul M, Achim C. Modulation of glucocorticoid receptor nuclear translocation in neurons by immunophilins FKBP51 and FKBP52: implications for major depressive disorder. Brain Res. 2009 Aug 25; 1286:1-12. PMID: 19545546; PMCID: PMC2724600.
    41. Achim C, Adame A, Dumaop W, Everall IP, Masliah E. Increased accumulation of intraneuronal amyloid beta in HIV-infected patients. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2009 Jun; 4(2):190-9. PMID: 19288297; PMCID: PMC3055557.
    42. Crews L, Patrick C, Achim C, Everall IP, Masliah E. Molecular pathology of neuro-AIDS (CNS-HIV). Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Mar; 10(3):1045-63. PMID: 19399237; PMCID: PMC2672018.
    43. Tatro ET, Everall IP, Masliah E, Hult BJ, Lucero G, Chana G, Soontornniyomkij V, Achim C. Differential expression of immunophilins FKBP51 and FKBP52 in the frontal cortex of HIV-infected patients with major depressive disorder. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2009 Jun; 4(2):218-26. PMID: 19199039; PMCID: PMC2929573.
    44. Wheeler ED, Achim C, Ayyavoo V. Immunodetection of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vpr in brain tissue of HIV-1 encephalitic patients. J Neurovirol. 2006 Jun; 12(3):200-10. PMID: 16877301.
      View in: PubMed
    45. Moore DJ, Masliah E, Rippeth JD, Gonzalez R, Carey CL, Cherner M, Ellis RJ, Achim C, Marcotte TD, Heaton RK, Grant I. Cortical and subcortical neurodegeneration is associated with HIV neurocognitive impairment. AIDS. 2006 Apr 04; 20(6):879-87. PMID: 16549972.
      View in: PubMed
    46. Green DA, Masliah E, Vinters HV, Beizai P, Moore DJ, Achim C. Brain deposition of beta-amyloid is a common pathologic feature in HIV positive patients. AIDS. 2005 Mar 04; 19(4):407-11. PMID: 15750394.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Halks-Miller M, Schroeder ML, Haroutunian V, Moenning U, Rossi M, Achim C, Purohit D, Mahmoudi M, Horuk R. CCR1 is an early and specific marker of Alzheimer's disease. Ann Neurol. 2003 Nov; 54(5):638-46. PMID: 14595653.
      View in: PubMed
    48. Hammond RR, Iskander S, Achim C, Hearn S, Nassif J, Wiley CA. A reliable primary human CNS culture protocol for morphological studies of dendritic and synaptic elements. J Neurosci Methods. 2002 Aug 30; 118(2):189-98. PMID: 12204309.
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