Subhash Chand, PhD, receives NIH A-START funding

Subhash Chand, PhD

Subhash Chand, PhD

Subhash Chand, PhD, instructor and researcher in the UNMC Department of Anesthesiology, is investigating the impact of cannabidiols (CBD) on HIV infection and methamphetamine abuse-associated neuroinflammation.

Dr. Chand’s research, funded by an AIDS-Science Track Award for Research Transition (A-START R03), focuses on identifying specific genes involved in neuroinflammation during HIV and methamphetamine abuse and studying the efficacy of CBD in mitigating neuroinflammation in animal and cell culture models.

A-START is a National Institutes of Health grant that supports research projects pertaining to drug use and HIV/AIDS that can be carried out in a short period of time with limited resources.

Dr. Chand said research has shown that HIV and methamphetamine induce neuroinflammation through the upregulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway via NF-kappaB signaling. “This pathway, when activated, contributes to neuroinflammation,” he said. “CBD may serve as a potential treatment option by downregulating this pathway.”

Treatment options for neuroinflammation in HIV patients with methamphetamine abuse are limited, Dr. Chand said, and despite advances in HIV management, including antiretroviral therapy, existing treatments fall short in directly targeting neuroinflammation and associated neurocognitive impairments.

Dr. Chand said treatment with CBD has the potential to decrease neurocognitive decline associated with HIV and substance abuse. “Developing these therapies will directly benefit vulnerable populations,” he said.

Dr. Chand came to UNMC in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow in the UNMC Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Neuroscience. He joined the Department of Anesthesiology as a postdoctoral fellow in 2019, working with Sowmya Yelamanchili, PhD, before joining the department as an instructor in 2020.