University of Nebraska Medical Center

Laboratory of Huangui Xiong, MD, PhD

Research Goals

Our laboratory studies cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) focusing on 1) how virus and viral proteins alter neuronal physiology, synaptic transmission and plasticity via subtypes of NMDA receptors, and 2) role of voltage-gated K channel Kv1.3 in HIV-1-associated mononuclear phagocytes (brain macrophages and microglia) activation, resultant production of proinflammatory substances and consequent neurocognitive impairment.  Another focus in the laboratory investigates how the drugs of abuse, in particular methamphetamine, augment HIV-1-associated neuropathology via NLRP3 inflammasome activation. The ultimate goal of the laboratory research is to identify potential targets for the development of therapeutic strategies for HAND and possibly other neurodegenerative disorders.

Techniques used in laboratory

  • Brain slices
  • Primary neural cell cultures
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Fluorescent microscopy
  • Western blotting
  • Neurotoxicity assay
  • Transmigration assay
  • Field potential recording
  • Whole-cell patch clamp recordings
  • “Blind” whole-cell recording from brain slices
  • Single channel recordings


Professor, Universidad Central del Caribe, Puerto, Rico

Margaret R. Larson Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience


Laboratory of Howard E. Gendelman, MD

Howard E. Gendelman, MD


K channel, NLRP3 inflammasome and Meth exacerbation of HAND

Role: PI

Source: R01DA050540 (PI: Xiong) 09/01/2019 - 08/31/2024
DHHS/NIH $299,849

This grant investigates how drug abuse, in particular methamphetamine (Meth), potentiates HIV-induced microglia NLRP3 inflammasome activation and resultant neuroinflammation in the era of combined antiretroviral therapy.

Impact of drugs of abuse on HIV brain reservoirs and HAND in humanized microglia mice

Role: Co-I

1R01DA054535-01 (PI: Gorantla) 07/01/2021-06/30/2026
DHHS/NIH/NIDA $390,000

The goal of this project is to study the effect of cocaine abuse on CNS viral reservoir and HIV neuropathology.

Chronic HIV Infection and Aging in NeuroAIDS (CHAIN) Center

Role: Co-I

5 P30 MH062261-18 (PI: Buch) 05/11/2017 - 03/31/2022
DHHS/NIH/NIMH $1,084,995

This is a Center grant to provide Administrative and Core Support for scientists investigating NeuroAIDS.

Neuroprotective Immunity and HIV Dementia

Role: Co-I

5 R01 NS034239-24 (PI: Gendelman) 03/15/2018 -02/28/2023

This proposal will determine cell responses in macrophages following HIV-1 infection and engagement with T cells and T cell subsets. Macrophage functions including phagocytosis, antigen presentation, intracellular killing and effector cell responses and their modulation by T cells is a focus for this work. Signal transduction pathways and mechanisms for virus-induced neurotoxicity or neuroprotection will be developed.