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Ronald Ellis MD


Ronald Ellis MD

Ronald Ellis MD

Ronald J. Ellis, MD, PhD, is a board-certified neurologist who specializes in adult neurological diagnosis and treatment for patients with HIV or AIDS. He is the only specialist in the neurology of HIV/AIDS in the San Diego area and also receives referrals from throughout California.

Both his clinical work and research focus on the neurological manifestations of HIV infection and their pathogenesis and treatment, particularly dementia, neurocognitive disorders and sensory polyneuropathy. In addition to these diagnoses specifically related to HIV, Dr. Ellis provides care for a variety of other neurological conditions in which the presence of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy can substantially influence best practices. These include stroke, epilepsy, and movement disorders. As an example, antiepileptic medications that may be safely used among HIV negative individuals can be a poor choice for HIV infected individuals based on interactions with antiretroviral and other commonly used concomitant medications. In addition, a variety of neurological conditions become increasingly prevalent as people with HIV get older.

As a professor in the Department of Neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Ellis trains medical students, residents and fellows. He supervises neurologists who care for patients during hospital stays. He conducts a variety of industry- and NIH-supported clinical trials. These trials are designed to evaluate the efficacy of new treatments for HIV neurocognitive disorders and dementia, such as tesamorelin, and for HIV-associated, painful distal sensory polyneuropathy, such as pregabalin.

Dr. Ellis is associate director of the NIMH-funded P03 HIV Neurobehavioral Research Programs (HNRP) and principal investigator of its Neuromedical Core. He also serves as co-director of the multicenter CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER) study and the Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC) at UC San Diego. TMARC comprises an integrated program of human clinical, neuroimaging, laboratory and animal model investigations being conducted at UC San Diego, the Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and the Scripps Research Institute.

Dr. Ellis completed his residency and fellowship at UC San Diego School of Medicine and interned at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He earned his medical degree and PhD from Boston University School of Medicine. He is board certified in neurology.

He has held leadership positions in many NIH-funded clinical trials networks, including the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). He is frequently consulted by the National Institutes of Health to serve on advisory boards, grant review committees, and other expert bodies. He reviews manuscripts for more than a dozen clinical and basic science journals including the Annals of NeurologyJAMANeurologyNeuroscience LettersJournal of the International Neuropsychological SocietyJournal of Infectious Diseases, and AIDS.

Dr. Ellis continues to make significant contributions to international research on HIV neurology, serving as a co-investigator or consultant on projects in Brazil, Romania, Cameroon, Nigeria and India. He serves as a grant reviewer for the NIH and for multiple national and international research funding organizations.

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