Ron Ellis 

Ronald J. Ellis, MD, PhD 

Professor

 

Contact Information

220 Dickinson/TGF, Room 330

Phone: 619-543-5079
Clinic Appointments:
619-543-3500
Clinical Profile
NeuroHIV Website

E-mail: roellis@ucsd.edu
Fax: 619-543-4744

Mailing Address:
200 W. Arbor Drive #8231
San Diego, CA 92103-8231


Ronald Ellis, MD, PhD, is an adult neurologist specializing in neuro-infectious diseases, particularly HIV infection. His research examines how pathological interactions between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and its human host result in nervous system diseases such as dementia and peripheral neuropathy. His recent work concerns the role of metabolic syndrome and vascular risk factors in persisting neurocognitive impairment in aging HIV+ individuals.

Dr. Ellis directs a laboratory examining viral load and cytokines and chemokines in HIV. He serves as co-director of the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Programs (HNRP), and PI of its Neuromedical Core, as well as Co-Director of the Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC) at UCSD.  Additionally, he is a co-investigator for the large NIMH-funded CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER) study, which has enrolled over 1,500 subjects at 6 universities across the country to evaluate changes in HIV-associated neurological disease since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

He also is active in international efforts in HIV neurological disease. Most recently, he is spearheading a collaboration with King Fahd Specialist Hospital, Dammam, to advance clinical research infrastructure capacity in Saudi Arabia.  He continues to make significant contributions to international research on neuroAIDS, serving as a co-investigator or consultant on projects in Romania, Cameroon, Nigeria and India. He serves as a grant reviewer for the NIH Fogarty International Program, “Brain Disorders in the Developing World” and as an ad hoc grant reviewer for Aids Fonds, Netherlands.

Dr. Ellis has actively mentored junior investigators for more than 10 years. He contributes to the NIH R25 -funded, 2-year Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDS (IRFN), which provides clinicians with formal research training so as to increase the number of clinician researchers equipped to solve emerging health problems. As an alumnus of UCSD’s National Center for Leadership in Academic Medicine (NCLAM), he continues to participate in this program as a mentor.  He attracts new talent to the University by assisting trainees in obtaining extramural support and fostering their academic careers.

In addition, Dr. Ellis has been active in designing and conducting industry- and NIH- supported clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of new treatments for HIV neurocognitive disorders and dementia, such as memantine, selegiline and minocycline, and for HIV-associated, painful distal sensory polyneuropathy, such as prosaptide, pregabalin, capsaicin and medicinal cannabis.

Dr. Ellis is frequently consulted by the National Institutes of Health to serve on advisory boards, grant review committees, and other expert bodies. He is an active contributor to national specialty groups in his area of expertise. For example, In April 2013, at the invitation of Dr. Robert Eisinger, he contributed to a meeting of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council (OARAC) that highlighted research on the epidemiology, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and prevention of neuro-AIDS and HIV-associated neurological disorders. He has held leadership positions in numerous NIH-funded clinical trials networks, including the NIAID-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG).  In this context he spearheaded the design, implementation and validation of an ongoing effort to develop more practical and cost efficient tools to screen for neuroAIDS in a national cohort of more than 6000 individuals with HIV infection receiving antiretroviral therapy. 

He reviews manuscripts for more than a dozen clinical and basic science journals including the Annals of Neurology, JAMA, Neurology, Neuroscience Letters, the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, the Journal of Infectious Diseases, and AIDS.

Over his career, Dr. Ellis has published over 150 articles in refereed, high impact, scientific journals such as Annals of Neurology, Neurology, and Nature Reviews Neuroscience.  He has been successful in obtaining continuous NIH funding over his career.  He reviews abstracts for scientific congresses such as the American Academy of Neurology and the American Neurological Association, and serves as session chair for presentations at annual scientific meetings. He recently contributed a chapter, "Nervous System Infections in the Elderly,” to a new textbook intended to serve as a reference for subspecialty certification in the new area of Geriatric Neurology. Dr. Ellis provides patient evaluation and management services in both outpatient and inpatient settings. 

At the UCSD-Hillcrest Neurology Clinic, Dr. Ellis evaluates neuroAIDS and general neurology referrals weekly. He is the only neuroAIDS subspecialist in the San Diego area and generates referrals from Palm Springs, Irvine, Los Angeles and San Francisco. As an attending physician on the neurology clinical service at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, he supervises a team of physicians caring for individuals requiring inpatient management.

Dr. Ellis recently expanded his patient care activities through a novel technology, telemedicine. After successfully competing for a grant through UCSD’s Extending eXPertise to Areas in Need (EXPAND) program, he began providing specialty telemedicine evaluation services to the Desert AIDS Project (DAP), which is the largest primary medical care provider for people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA) in both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

2013

  1. Weber E, Morgan EE, Iudicello JE, Blackstone K, Grant I, Ellis RJ, Letendre SL, Little S, Morris S, Smith DM, Moore DJ, Woods SP. Substance use is a risk factor for neurocognitive deficits and neuropsychiatric distress in acute and early HIV infection. J Neurovirol2013 Feb;19(1):65-74.
  2. Rodriguez-Penney AT, Iudicello JE, Riggs PK, Doyle K, Ellis RJ, Letendre SL, Grant I, Woods, The Hiv Neurobehavioral Research Program Hnrp Group SP. Co-Morbidities in Persons Infected with HIV: Increased Burden with Older Age and Negative Effects on Health-Related Quality of Life. AIDS Patient Care STDS2013 Jan;27(1):5-16.
  3. Nguyen A, Rossi S, Croteau D, Best BM, Clifford D, Collier AC, Gelman B, Marra C, McArthur J, McCutchan JA, Morgello S, Simpson D, Ellis RJ, Grant I, Capparelli E, Letendre S. Etravirine in CSF is highly protein bound. J Antimicrob Chemother2013 Jan 20.
  4. Morgan EE, Woods SP, Letendre SL, Franklin DR, Bloss C, Goate A, Heaton RK, Collier AC, Marra CM, Gelman BB, McArthur JC, Morgello S, Simpson DM, McCutchan JA, Ellis RJ, Abramson I, Gamst A, Fennema-Notestine C, Smith DM, Grant I, Vaida F, Clifford DB. Apolipoprotein E4 genotype does not increase risk of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. J Neurovirol2013 Feb 14.
  5. Marquine MJ, Iudicello JE, Morgan EE, Brown GG, Letendre SL, Ellis RJ, Deutsch R, Woods SP, Grant I, Heaton RK. "Frontal systems" behaviors in comorbid human immunodeficiency virus infection and methamphetamine dependency. Psychiatry Res2013 Nov 13.
  6. Marquine MJ, Umlauf, A., Rooney, A., Fazeli, P., Gouaux, B, Woods, S.P., Letendre, S.L., Ellis, R.J., Grant, I., Moore, D.J. & the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program (HNRP) Group. The Veterans Administration Cohort Study (VACS) Index is associated with concurrent risk for neurocognitive impairment. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes2013;In Press.
  7. Kamat R, Morgan E, Marcotte TD, Badiee J, Maich I, Cherner M, Almeida S, de Pereira AP, Ribeiro CE, Barbosa F, Atkinson JH, Ellis R. Implications of apathy and depression for everyday functioning in HIV/AIDS in Brazil. J Affect Disord2013 Sep 25;150(3):1069-75.
  8. Joseph J, Achim CL, 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, 3rd, Sacktor N, Sithinamsuwan P, Smith DM, Valcour V, Wigdahl B, Wood C. Global NeuroAIDS Roundtable. J Neurovirol2013 Jan 26.
  9. Fields J, Dumaop W, Rockenstein E, Mante M, Spencer B, Grant I, Ellis R, Letendre S, Patrick C, Adame A, Masliah E. Age-dependent molecular alterations in the autophagy pathway in HIVE patients and in a gp120 tg mouse model: reversal with beclin-1 gene transfer. J Neurovirol2013 Jan 24.
  10. Fields J, Dumaop W, Adame A, Ellis RJ, Letendre S, Grant I, Masliah E. Alterations in the Levels of Vesicular Trafficking Proteins Involved in HIV Replication in the Brains and CSF of Patients with HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol2013 Dec;8(5):1197-209.
  11. Fennema-Notestine C, Ellis RJ, Archibald SL, Jernigan TL, Letendre SL, Notestine RJ, Taylor MJ, Theilmann RJ, Julaton MD, Croteau DJ, Wolfson T, Heaton RK, Gamst AC, Franklin DR, Jr., Clifford DB, Collier AC, Gelman BB, Marra C, McArthur JC, McCutchan JA, Morgello S, Simpson DM, Grant I. Increases in brain white matter abnormalities and subcortical gray matter are linked to CD4 recovery in HIV infection. J Neurovirol2013 Aug;19(4):393-401.
  12. Dufour CA, Marquine MJ, Fazeli PL, Henry BL, Ellis RJ, Grant I, Moore DJ. Physical exercise is associated with less neurocognitive impairment among HIV-infected adults. J Neurovirol2013 Oct;19(5):410-7.
  13. Desplats P, Dumaop W, Smith D, Adame A, Everall I, Letendre S, Ellis R, Cherner M, Grant I, Masliah E. Molecular and pathologic insights from latent HIV-1 infection in the human brain. Neurology2013 Apr 9;80(15):1415-23.de Almeida SM, Ribeiro CE, de Pereira AP, Badiee J, Cherner M, Smith D, Maich I, Raboni SM, Rotta I, Barbosa FJ, Heaton RK, Umlauf A, Ellis RJ. Neurocognitive impairment in HIV-1 clade C- versus B-infected individuals in Southern Brazil. J Neurovirol2013 Nov 26.
  14. Chen H, Clifford DB, Deng L, Wu K, Lee AJ, Bosch RJ, Riddler SA, Ellis RJ, Evans SR. Peripheral neuropathy in ART-experienced patients: prevalence and risk factors. J Neurovirol2013 Dec;19(6):557-64.
  15. Burdo TH, Weiffenbach A, Woods SP, Letendre S, Ellis RJ, Williams KC. Elevated sCD163 is a marker of neurocognitive impairment in HIV infection. AIDS2013 Feb 21.
  16. Blackstone K, Iudicello JE, Morgan EE, Weber E, Moore DJ, Franklin DR, Ellis RJ, Grant I, Woods SP. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Heightens Concurrent Risk of Functional Dependence in Persons With Long-Term Methamphetamine Use. J Addict Med2013 May 3.

2012

  1. Valero IP, Letendre S, Ellis R, Deutsch R, Franklin D, Clifford D, Heaton R, McCutchan J, McArthur J, Morgello S, Gelman B, Collier A, Grant I. Prevalence and risk factors for HIV CSF Viral Escape: Results from the CHARTER and HNRP cohorts. J Int AIDS Soc2012;15(6):18189.
  2. Smith D, Ellis RJ. Viral Dynamics. In: Gendelman HE, Grant I, Everall I, editors. The Neurology of AIDS. 3rd Edition ed. New York, New York: Oxford University Press; 2012.
  3. Sakamoto M, Marcotte TD, Umlauf A, Franklin D, Jr., Heaton RK, Ellis RJ, Letendre S, Alexander T, McCutchan JA, Morgan EE, Woods SP, Collier AC, Marra CM, Clifford DB, Gelman BB, McArthur JC, Morgello S, Simpson D, Grant I. Concurrent Classification Accuracy of the HIV Dementia Scale for HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorders in the CHARTER Cohort. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr2012 Oct 29.
  4. Royal W, 3rd, Cherner M, Carr J, Habib AG, Akomolafe A, Abimiku A, Charurat M, Farley J, Oluyemisi A, Mamadu I, Johnson J, Ellis R, McCutchen JA, Grant I, Blattner WA. Clinical features and preliminary studies of virological correlates of neurocognitive impairment among HIV-infected individuals in Nigeria. J Neurovirol2012 Apr 18.
  5. Pottiez G, Jagadish T, Yu F, Letendre S, Ellis R, Duarte NA, Grant I, Gendelman HE, Fox HS, Ciborowski P. Plasma Proteomic Profiling in HIV-1 Infected Methamphetamine Abusers. PLoS One2012;7(2):e31031.
  6. Morgan EE, Iudicello JE, Weber E, Duarte NA, Riggs PK, Delano-Wood L, Ellis R, Grant I, Woods SP. Synergistic effects of HIV infection and older age on daily functioning. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr2012 Nov 1;61(3):341-8.
  7. Moore DJ, Posada C, Parikh M, Arce M, Vaida F, Riggs PK, Gouaux B, Ellis RJ, Letendre SL, Grant I, Atkinson JH. HIV-infected individuals with co-occurring bipolar disorder evidence poor antiretroviral and psychiatric medication adherence. AIDS Behav2012 Nov;16(8):2257-66.
  8. Pottiez G, Jagadish T, Yu F, Letendre S, Ellis R, Duarte NA, Grant I, Gendelman HE, Fox HS, Ciborowski P. Plasma Proteomic Profiling in HIV-1 Infected Methamphetamine Abusers. PLoS One 2012;7(2):e31031.
  9. McCutchan JA, Marquie-Beck JA, Fitzsimons CA, Letendre SL, Ellis RJ, Heaton RK, Wolfson T, Rosario D, Alexander TJ, Marra C, Ances BM, Grant I. Role of obesity, metabolic variables, and diabetes in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder. Neurology 2012 Feb 14;78(7):485-92.
  10. Croteau D, Letendre S, Best BM, Rossi SS, Ellis RJ, Clifford DB, Collier AC, Gelman BB, Marra CM, McArthur J, McCutchan JA, Morgello S, Simpson DM, Way L, Capparelli E, Grant I. Therapeutic Amprenavir Concentrations in Cerebrospinal Fluid. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2012 Jan 30.
  11. Croteau D, Best BM, Letendre S, Rossi SS, Ellis RJ, Clifford DB, Collier AC, Gelman BB, McArthur JC, McCutchan JA, Morgello S, Grant I. Lower than expected maraviroc concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid exceed the wild-type CCR5-tropic HIV-1 50% inhibitory concentration. AIDS 2012 Feb 4.
  12. Best BM, Letendre SL, Koopmans P, Rossi SS, Clifford DB, Collier AC, Gelman BB, Marra CM, McArthur JC, McCutchan JA, Morgello S, Simpson DM, Capparelli EV, Ellis RJ, Grant I. Low CSF Concentrations of the Nucleotide Hiv Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor, Tenofovir. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2012 Jan 3.

2011

  1. Smurzynski M, Wu K, Letendre S, Robertson K, Bosch RJ, Clifford DB, Evans S, Collier AC, Taylor M, Ellis R. Effects of central nervous system antiretroviral penetration on cognitive functioning in the ALLRT cohort. AIDS 2011 Jan 28;25(3):357-65.
  2. Scott JC, Woods SP, Vigil O, Heaton RK, Schweinsburg BC, Ellis RJ, Grant I, Marcotte TD. A neuropsychological investigation of multitasking in hiv infection: Implications for everyday functioning. Neuropsychology 2011 Mar 14.
  3. Scott JC, Woods SP, Vigil O, Heaton RK, Grant I, Ellis RJ, Marcotte TD. Script generation of activities of daily living in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 2011;17:1–6.
  4. Sacktor N, Miyahara S, Deng L, Evans S, Schifitto G, Cohen BA, Paul R, Robertson K, Jarocki B, Scarsi K, Coombs RW, Zink MC, Nath A, Smith E, Ellis RJ, Singer E, Weihe J, McCarthy S, Hosey L, Clifford DB. Minocycline treatment for HIV-associated cognitive impairment: Results from a randomized trial. Neurology 2011 Sep 20;77(12):1135-42.
  5. Riggs PK, Vaida F, Rossi SS, Sorkin LS, Gouaux B, Grant I, Ellis RJ. A pilot study of the effects of cannabis on appetite hormones in HIV-infected adult men. Brain Res 2011 Nov 7.
  6. Paulino AD, Ubhi K, Rockenstein E, Adame A, Crews L, Letendre S, Ellis R, Everall IP, Grant I, Masliah E. Neurotoxic effects of the HCV core protein are mediated by sustained activation of ERK via TLR2 signaling. J Neurovirol 2011 Aug;17(4):327-40.
  7. Moore DJ, Posada C, Parikh M, Arce M, Vaida F, Riggs PK, Gouaux B, Ellis RJ, Letendre SL, Grant I, Atkinson JH. HIV-Infected Individuals with Co-occurring Bipolar Disorder Evidence Poor Antiretroviral and Psychiatric Medication Adherence. AIDS Behav 2011 Oct 30.
  8. Moore DJ, Letendre SL, Morris S, Umlauf A, Deutsch R, Smith DM, Little S, Rooney A, Franklin DR, Gouaux B, Leblanc S, Rosario D, Fennema-Notestine C, Heaton RK, Ellis RJ, Atkinson JH, Grant I. Neurocognitive functioning in acute or early HIV infection. J Neurovirol 2011 Feb;17(1):50-7.
  9. Lin K, Taylor MJ, Heaton R, Franklin D, Jernigan T, Fennema-Notestine C, McCutchan A, Atkinson JH, Ellis RJ, McArthur J, Morgello S, Simpson D, Collier AC, Marra C, Gelman B, Clifford D, Grant I. Effects of traumatic brain injury on cognitive functioning and cerebral metabolites in HIV-infected individuals. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2011 Mar;33(3):326-34.
  10. Letendre SL, Zheng JC, Kaul M, Yiannoutsos CT, Ellis RJ, Taylor MJ, Marquie-Beck J, Navia B. Chemokines in cerebrospinal fluid correlate with cerebral metabolite patterns in HIV-infected individuals. J Neurovirol 2011 Feb;17(1):63-9.
  11. Jernigan TL, Archibald SL, Fennema-Notestine C, Taylor MJ, Theilmann RJ, Julaton MD, Notestine RJ, Wolfson T, Letendre SL, Ellis RJ, Heaton RK, Gamst AC, Franklin DR, Clifford DB, Collier AC, Gelman BB, Marra C, McArthur JC, McCutchan JA, Morgello S, Simpson DM, Grant I, Group C. Clinical factors related to brain structure in HIV: the CHARTER study. J Neurovirol 2011;17(3):248-57.
  12. Heaton RK, Franklin DR, Ellis RJ, McCutchan JA, Letendre SL, Leblanc S, Corkran SH, Duarte NA, Clifford DB, Woods SP, Collier AC, Marra CM, Morgello S, Mindt MR, Taylor MJ, Marcotte TD, Atkinson JH, Wolfson T, Gelman BB, McArthur JC, Simpson DM, Abramson I, Gamst A, Fennema-Notestine C, Jernigan TL, Wong J, Grant I. HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders before and during the era of combination antiretroviral therapy: differences in rates, nature, and predictors. J Neurovirol 2011 Feb;17(1):3-16.
  13. Gupta S, Bousman CA, Chana G, Cherner M, Heaton RK, Deutsch R, Ellis RJ, Grant I, Everall IP. Dopamine receptor D3 genetic polymorphism (rs6280TC) is associated with rates of cognitive impairment in methamphetamine-dependent men with HIV: preliminary findings. J Neurovirol 2011 Apr 14.
  14. Evans SR, Ellis RJ, Chen H, Yeh TM, Lee AJ, Schifitto G, Wu K, Bosch RJ, McArthur JC, Simpson DM, Clifford DB. Peripheral Neuropathy in HIV: prevalence and risk factors. AIDS 2011 Mar 10.
  15. Ellis RJ, Badiee J, Vaida F, Munoz-Moreno JA, Letendre S, Heaton RK, Clifford D, Collier AC, Gelman B, McArthur J, Morgello S, McCutchan JA, Grant I. Nadir CD4 is a Predictor of HIV Neurocognitive Impairment (NCI) in the era of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy (CART): Results from the CHARTER Study. AIDS 2011;25:1747–51.
  16. de Almeida SM, Shumaker SD, Leblanc SK, Delaney P, Marquie-Beck J, Ueland S, Alexander T, Ellis RJ. Incidence of Post-Dural Puncture Headache in Research Volunteers. Headache 2011;[Epub ahead of print].
  17. de Almeida SM, Boritza K, Cogo LL, Pessa L, Franca J, Rota I, Muro M, Ribeiro C, Raboni SM, Vidal LR, Nogueira MB, Ellis R. Quantification of cerebrospinal fluid lactic acid in the differential diagnosis between HIV chronic meningitis and opportunistic meningitis. Clin Chem Lab Med 2011 Feb 11.
  18. Cysique LA, Franklin D, Jr., Abramson I, Ellis RJ, Letendre S, Collier A, Clifford D, Gelman B, McArthur J, Morgello S, Simpson D, McCutchan JA, Grant I, Heaton RK. Normative data and validation of a regression based summary score for assessing meaningful neuropsychological change. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 2011 Mar 7:1-18.
  19. Burdo TH, Lentz MR, Autissier P, Krishnan A, Halpern E, Letendre S, Rosenberg ES, Ellis RJ, Williams KC. Soluble CD163 Made by Monocyte/Macrophages Is a Novel Marker of HIV Activity in Early and Chronic Infection Prior to and After Anti-retroviral Therapy. J Infect Dis 2011 Jul;204(1):154-63.
  20. Blackstone K, Moore DJ, Heaton RK, Franklin DR, Woods SP, Clifford DB, Collier AC, Marra CM, Gelman BB, McArthur JC, Morgello S, Simpson DM, Rivera-Mindt M, Deutsch R, Ellis RJ, Hampton Atkinson J, Grant I. Diagnosing Symptomatic HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders: Self-Report Versus Performance-Based Assessment of Everyday Functioning. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2011 Nov 24:1-10.
Year Award
2009 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
UC San Diego School of Medicine
1999-2001 Leadership Award
Neurologic AIDS Research Consortium
1997-1998, 1998-1999,
1999-2000, 2000-2001
Department of Neurosciences Junior Faculty Teaching Award
University of California, San Diego
1997 New Investigator Award
California University wide AIDS Research Program
1993 Best Resident Teacher
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine
1992-1993 Chief Resident in Neurology
University of California, San Diego
1989 Ciba-Geigy Prize in Neurological Sciences
Boston University School of Medicine
1986-1988 National Research Service Award, Pre Doctoral Felowship