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Institute of NeuroImmune Pharmacology


In Congruence with Worlds Ahead Strategic Plan of FIU/ HWCOM, and NIH Road map INIP will engage in:

  • State-of-the-art and translational research, creative activity.
  • High quality teaching
  • Training and collaborative engagements.


  1. Provide academic leadership in Immunology/NeuroImmune pharmacology in the college of medicine and FIU
  2. Develop, foster and sustain a program of translational research (bench to bedside) and training in Immunology, Neuro-Immune pharmacology of Drug abuse ,HIV/ CNS diseases and cosmetic medicine
  3. Develop novel drug delivery technologies to treat HIV, drug addiction and various CNS diseases.
  4. Build bridges between research and training activities at the graduate, undergraduate and post doctoral levels for PhD,. MD and M.P.H scientists and practicing immunologists.
  5. To nurture /mentor junior researchers to become independent NIH funded investigators.
  6. To establish academic and Industry collaboration with in US and abroad.

Current Objectives

  • Develop an in vitro model system by which the HIV drugs can be specifically targeted to the brain using magnetic Nanotechnology approach to cure Neuro-AIDS.
  • Formulate Nano silicone particles for constructing immunologically naïve breast implants.
  • Differential neuro-AIDS prevalent in different HIV-1 Clades infections and to evaluate the exacerbating effects of drug abuse in HIV Clade included differential neuropathogenesis.
  • To study the behavioral aspects of animals treated with magnetic nanoparticles tagged with opioid receptors antagonists in the drug abuse research area.
  • Magneto-Electric Nano-particles for Non-invasive Brain stimulation

Future Objectives

  • Preparation of various sizes of nicotine nanoparticles to construct next generation of nicotine patches for clinical use.
  • Develop and target a specific drug targeting the brain to treat specific brain tumors
  • Develop treatment programs using Novel Personalized Nanomedicine paradigms to treat Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.


  • Active Grants
    1. Mechanisms of Neuro-AIDS by HIV1B and C Clades, 1R01MH085259 - Nair (PI) - NIH/NIMH
    2. Immunopathogenesis of HIV-1 infection: Role of Methamphetamine, IRO1 DA 21537 - Nair (PI) - NIH/NIDA
    3. Role of Cocaine in Neuro-AIDS by HIV 1B and C Clades (Merit Award) 1R37DA025576-01 - Nair (PI) - NIH/NIDA
    4. Polydrug Nanocarrier to Treat Opiate Addiction and HIV Disease 1R01DA027049-01 - Nair (PI) - NIH/NIDA
    5. Immuno-Neuropathogenic mechanisms of HIV-1 clade B and C Infection 1R03MH096640-01 - Samikkannu (PI) – NIDA
    6. Polydrug Nanocarrier to Treat Opiate Addiction and HIV Disease (Supplement) - 3R01DA027049-04S1 - Andrea (PI) – NIH
  • Scholarly Productivity
    1. Saiyed ZM, Gandhi NH, Nair MPN. Magnetic nanoformulation of azidothymidine 5’-triphosphate for targeted delivery across the blood-brain barrier. Int. J. Nanomedicine 2010, 5: 157-166. PMID: 20463931
    2. Samikkannu T, Rao KV, Gandhi N, Saxena SK and Nair MP. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 clade B and C Tat differentially induce indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase and serotonin in immature dendritic cells: Implications for neuroAIDS J. Neurovirol. 2010, 16(4):255-63. PMID: 20602605
    3. Gandhi N, Saiyed ZM, Napuri J, Samikkannu T, Reddy PV, Agudelo M, Khatavkar P, Saxena SK, Nair MP. Interactive role of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) clade-specific Tat protein and cocaine in blood-brain barrier dysfunction: implications for HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorder. J. Neurovirol. 2010, 16(4): 294-305. PMID: 20624003
    4. Nair MP, Saiyed ZM. Effect of methamphetamine on expression of HIV coreceptors and CC-chemokines by dendritic cells. Life Sci., 2010, Available online (doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2010.09.019). PMID: 20932494
    5. Agudelo M, Saiyed Z, Samikkannu T, Khatavakar P, Gandhi N, Nair N and Nair MPN. Role of dendritic cells in HIV infection: DC-SIGN and novel therapeutic approaches. In Dendritic Cells: Types, Life Cycles and Biological Functions. Cell Biology Research Progress. Ed. Lorraine C. Welles Nova Publishers, 2010. ISBN 978-1-61668-954-4. pp 167-177.
    6. Míguez MJ, Lewis JE, Bryant VE, Rosenberg R, Burbano X, Fishman J, Asthana D, Duan R, Madhavan N, Malow RM. Low cholesterol? Don't brag yet ... hypocholesterolemia blunts HAART effectiveness: a longitudinal study. J Int AIDS Soc., 2010;13:25. PMID: 20626901
    7. Boukli NM, Saiyed ZM, Ricaurte M, Rodriguez JW, Rios Olivares E, Cubano LA, Nair MP. Implications of ER stress, the unfolded protein response and pro-and anti-apoptotic protein fingerprints in human monocyte derived-dendritic cells treated with alcohol. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res, 2010, 34(12): 2081-2088. PMID: 20860616
    8. Saxena SK, Saxena S, Saxena R, Swamy MLA, Gupta A, Nair MPN. Emerging trends, challenges and prospects in antiviral therapeutics and drug development for infectious diseases. eJBiol, 2010; Vol. 6(2): 26-31.
    9. Saiyed ZM, Gandhi N, Agudelo M, Napuri J, Samikkannu T, Reddy VB, Khatavkar P, Yndart A, Saxena SK, Nair MPN. HIV-1 Tat Upregulates Expression of Histone Deacetylase-2 (HDAC2) in Human Neurons: Implication for HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND). Neurochem. Int., 2011, 58(6):656-64. PMID: 21315782
    10. Nair MP, Saiyed ZM. Nanomedicine and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). The Neurology of AIDS. Eds. Gendelman HE, Everall IP, Fox H, Gelbard H, Grant I, Lipton S, Swindells S. 3rd Edition Oxford University Press Inc. (In Press)
    11. Reddy PV, Gandhi N, Samikkannu T, Agudelo M, Saiyed ZM, Yndart-Arias A, Khatavkar P, Nair MP. HIV-1 gp120 induces antioxidant response element-mediated expression in primary astrocytes: Role in HIV associated neurocognitive disorder. J. Neurosci. Res. Neurochemistry International (in Press).
    12. Weinberg A, Song LY, Wilkening CL, Fenton T, Hural J, Louzao R, Ferrari G, Etter PE, Berrong M, Canniff JD, Carter D, Defawe OD, Garcia A, Garrelts TL, Gelman R, Lambrecht LK, Pahwa S, Pilakka-Kanthikeel S, Shugarts DL, Tustin NBOptimization of storage and shipment of cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HIV-infected and uninfected individuals for ELISPOT assays. J Immunol Methods. 2010;363(1):42-50. PMID: 20888337
  • Publications
    1. Shailendra K. Saxena1, Sneham Tiwari1, Rakhi Saxena1, Asha Mathur2, Madhavan P. N. Nair3 Japanese Encephalitis Virus: The Complex Biology of an Emerging Pathogen, ISBN 978-953-51-0925-9, Published: January 9, 2013
    2. Madhavan Nair, Rakesh Guduru, Oing Liang,Jeonming Hong,Vidya sagar and Sakhrat Khizroev.Externally –Controlled On-Demand Release of Anti-HIV Drug AZTTP Using Magneto-Electric Nanoparticles as Carriers.Nature.Com (revised) 2013.
    3. Narayanan Nair, Pilakka-Kanthikeel Sudheesh, Zainulabedin Saiyed, Adriana Yndart and Madhavan Nair. Silicone Nanoparticles (SNP) do not Induce Immune Responses by Naïve Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells: Implications in breast implants. J. (Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Under Review). Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Jul;130(1):128e-37e. PMID: 22743898.
    4. Pichili VB Reddy, Sudheesh Pilakka-Kanthikeel, Zainulabedin Saiyed, Madhavan PN Nair (2011). Interactive effects of morphine on HIV infection: Role in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (Communicated: Aids Research and Treatment) AIDS Res Treat. 2012; 2012:953678. Epub 2012 May 20. PMID: 22666564
    5. Pichili VB Reddy, Madhavan PN Nair (2011) Inhibition of Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2 Exacerbates HIV-1 gp120-Induced Oxidative and Inflammatory Response: Role in HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder. Neurochem Res. 2012 Apr 25. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 22528837.
    6. Saxena SK, Gupta A, Bhagyashree K, Saxena R, Arora N, Banerjee AK, Tripathi AK, Chandrasekar MJN, Gandhi N, Nair MPN. Targeting Strategies for Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Combinatorial Approach. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2012 Mar 1;12(3):236-254. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2012 Mar;12(3):236-54. Review. [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Related citations. PMID: 22356194.
    7. Saxena S.K., Tiwari S., & Madhavan PN Nair, Nanotherapeutics: emerging competent technology in neuroAIDS and CNS drug delivery. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2012, 7(7): 941-944. (doi:10.2217/NNM.12.63). (IF 6.2) PMID: 22846087
    8. Saxena SK, Shrivastava G, Tiwari S, Swamy MA, Nair MP Modulation of HIV Pathogenesis and T-cell signaling by HIV-1 Nef., Future Virol. 2012 Jun 1;7(6):609-620. PMID: 22844345.
    9. Sudheesh Pilakka-Kanthikeel, Zainulabedin M Saiyed, Jessica Napuri, Madhavan P. N. Nair. MicroRNA: Implications in HIV, a brief overview. J. Neurovirol. 2011 Oct; 17(5):416-23.
    10. Samikkannu T, Agudelo M, Gandhi N, Reddy PV, Saiyed ZM, Nwankwo D, Nair MP. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 clade B and C gp120 differentially induce neurotoxin arachidonic acid in human astrocytes: implications for neuroAIDS. J Neurovirol. 2011 Jun; 17(3):230-8.
    11. Saiyed ZM, Gandhi N, Agudelo M, Napuri J, Samikkannu T, Reddy PV, Khatavkar P, Yndart A, Saxena SK, Nair MP. HIV-1 Tat upregulates expression of histone deacetylase-2 (HDAC2) in human neurons: implication for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND). Neurochem Int. 2011 May; 58(6):656-64.
    12. Nair MP, Saiyed ZM. Effect of methamphetamine on expression of HIV coreceptors and CC-chemokines by dendritic cells. Life Sci. 2011 May 23; 88(21-22):987-94.
    13. Pichili Vijaya B Reddy.Gandhi N. Samikkannu T. Saiyed ZM. Agudelo M. Yndart A. Khatavkar P. Nair MP. HIV-1 gp120 induces antioxidant response element-mediated expression in primary astrocytes: Roles in HIV associated neurocognitive disorder. Neurochem Int. 2011 Jul 3. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 21756955.
    14. Agudelo M, Yoo C, Nair MP, Alcohol-induced serotonergic modulation: the role of histone Deacetylases. Alcohol. 2012 Jul 11. PMID:22796363.
    15. K. Yue, R. Guduru, J, Hong, P Liang, M. Nair, and S. Khizroev, “Magneto-electric nanoparitcles for non-invasive brain stimulation”, PLoS One Sep 5, 2012.
    16. Nair MPN, Saiyed ZM. Antiretroviral Nanotherapies. In “The Neurology of AIDS”. Eds. Gendelman HE, Everall IP, Fox H, Gelbard H, Grant I, Lipton S, Swindells S. 3rd Edition Oxford University Press Inc. page 999-1004,2012.
    17. Saxena SK., Tiwari, S., Nair, Madhavan: A global Perspective on HIV/AIDS. Science: 337,798,2012
    18. Saiyed ZM, Gandhi NH, Nair MPN. Magnetic nanoformulation of Azidothymidine 5-triphosphate for targeted delivery across the blood-brain barrier. Int. J. Nanomed. 2010, 5:157-166.
    19. Agudelo M, Gandhi N, Saiyed Z, Pichili V, Samikkannu T, Khatavkar P, Yndart A, Nair M. Effects of alcohol on histonedeacetylase 2 (HDAC2) and the neuroprotective role of trichostatin (TSA). Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 2011 Aug; 35(8):1550-6.
    20. Saxena SK, Gupta A, Bhagyashree K, Saxena R, Arora N, Banerjee AK, Tripathi AK, Chandrasekar MJN, Gandhi N, Nair MPN. Targeting Strategies for Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Combinatorial Approach. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2012 Mar 1;12(3):236-254
  • Guest Scholars / Visiting Scientist
    • Sudipta Seal, Ph.D. University of Central Florida, April 12, 2010, Regenerative Nanostructures in Therapy and Cell Survivality.
    • Vinod Labhsetwar, Ph.D. Cleveland Clinic, December 8, 2010, Translational NanoMedicine.
    • Mahendra Kumar, Ph.D., University of Miami, December 17, 2010, HIV-1 C clade Infection in India and NeuroAIDS.
    • Michal Toborek, M.D., Ph.D. University of Kentucky, January 11, 2011, Breaking it down: The involvement of the blood-brain barrier in HIV infection and methamphetamine toxicity.
    • Sakhrat Khizroev, Ph.D., Florida International University, February 4, 2011, Nanotechnology for Medicine.
    • Patricia Molina, PhD., Louisiana State University, July 9, 2012, Alcohol, Drugs of Abuse & HIV/ADIS: Beyond Risk Factors.
    • Vincent Shankey, PhD., Beckman Coulter, July 30, 2012, Cytometry of Cell Signaling: Simultaneous Analysis of Multiple Signaling Pathways in Human Disease.
    • Bassel Sawaya, PhD., Temple University, August 13, 2012, Molecular Mechanisms leading t the Development of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders.
    • Shilpa Buch, PhD., Nebraska Medical Center, August 20, 2012, HIV Neuroaids: a Tango of HIV and the Host.
    • Aftab Ansari, PhD., Emory University, November 26, 2012, Role of the gut homing cells on the pathogenesis of SIV infection.
    • Avindra Nath, M.D., NIH, December 10, 2012, HIV Reservoirs in the brain: Can it be cured?
    • Kamel Khalili PhD., Temple University, January 14, 2013, JC Virus and Human Disease.
  • Technology Transfer / Patents Filed
    1. Nair MPN, Saiyed ZM, Magnetic Nano delivery of therapeutic agents across the blood brain barrier 2009. PCT/US2009/055295/ US13/060,713.
    2. Nair MPN, Saiyed ZM, Gandhi NH. Plant-Derived Formulations for Treatment of HIV. 2010. Provisional Application Filed by Florida International University. Clinical trial undertaken by Laila Pharma, India .PCT/US2011/035922
    3. Nair MPN, Saiyed ZM, Kumar N. Cells and Uses Thereof. 2010. Provisional Application Filed by Florida International University
    4. Nair MPN, Kanthikeel SP, Medical Devices Incorporating Silicone, Nanoparticles and uses thereof, U.S. Serial No. 61/608,744 - /29171/46807, Filed March 9, 2012
    5. Khizroev S., Nair MPN. Multi-ferroic Nano-particles for Non-invasive Brain Stimulation and Neural Network Monitoring. 2011. Provisional Application Filed by Florida International University
  • International Collaborations
    1. Girish B Maru Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer, Tata Memorial Centre, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai 410 208, India. Research on System Biology approaches and Biomarkers in Cancer.
    2. Krishnan Nair M.Sc., Ph.D. Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre, Thiruvalla 689101, Kerala, India. Research on Nanotechnology approaches in HIV/AIDS.
    3. Dr. Shailendra K. SaxenaSenior Scientist & Leader (Infectious Diseases) CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), W 110, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500007 (AP)
  • Center for Personalized NanoMedicine

    Personalized NanoMedicine (PNM) has recently emerged as a multi-disciplinary field that leverages nanotechnology to enable disease- and patient-specific medical diagnostics and treatment. However, in spite of its unprecedented potential, PNM is at its very early stage of development and no viable PNM technologies exist today. The use of nanoparticles is often considered as the main driving force of nanomedicine and especially of PNM. Because of their unique size- and shape-dependent properties, nanoparticles promise superior applications in diverse areas such as Neuro-AIDS, CNS diseases, cancer, drug delivery and targeting, immunoassays, functional MRI and fluorescence imaging, enzyme mobility, catalysis, chemical separation, and many others. For ideal medical treatment, every patient requires his or her own optimal combination of drugs based on pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and environment that can be controlled at the sub-cellular level. Using nanoparticles to precisely control drug dosage and composition as well as to detect even minute disease-caused environmental changes that can make such personalized treatment a reality. However, the physics that underlies the nanoparticles’ characteristics in the perspective of their intrinsic interaction with the human body in the aforementioned applications is extremely poorly understood. Revealing and controlling the interaction of nanoparticles with the patient’s body at the nanoscale, whether it is electric field-, magnetic spin-, photon-, or phonon-triggered, is vital for enabling perfect diagnostics, therapeutics and/or recovery/regeneration of all the medical functions. The goal of the proposed Center for Personalized Nanomedicine (CPNM), is to fill this gap via a focused cross-disciplinary study by experts in medical fields, physics and engineering of nanostructures, signal processing and bio-imaging. The unique research direction of CPNM is towards creation of groundbreaking nanotechnologies based on the most recently discovered multi-functional nanoparticles with a wide range of physical, chemical and electric properties to meet the infinite spectrum of patient and disease scenarios.

    In view of the above, the mission of the Institute of NeuroImmune Pharmacology is to develop and sustain a program of translational research and training in drug use/abuse, tobacco use; and HIV/AIDS. The Institute aims to promote interdisciplinary translational research focusing on the interactions of the human immune system, substance use/abuse, tobacco use, HIV infection, cancer and nanotechnology based drug targeting.