Sunil K Ahuja, M.D.
Director, Research Enhancement Programs
Professor of Medicine
Dr. Sunil Ahuja’s research is focused on characterization of the host determinants of immunologic health. His work has been supported through both federal (e.g. NIH, Veterans Administration (VA) Center grants, DoD) and non-federal (e.g. Doris Duke) agencies. Dr. Ahuja has received the NIH MERIT award, the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, Burroughs Wellcome Clinical Scientist in Translational Research award and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Scientist award. He has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and American Association of Physicians. Dr. Ahuja serves as the Director of VA Center for AIDS and HIV Infection and VA Center for Personalized Medicine. The Centers represent a nodal point for cross-fertilization of ideas from a multi-disciplinary group of investigators from the VA, University affiliates and the DoD. The Centers house Illumina-based equipment for conducting GWASs and next-generation sequencing studies. Dr. Ahuja also serves as Director for Research Enhancement Programs in the Vice-President for Research Office. His team has a strong track record of successful and productive research in multi-disciplinary projects and ability to conduct large-scale genetic, genomic, immunologic and translational research related to infectious, immune and inflammatory diseases (e.g. allergy/asthma, HIV, and autoimmunity). Studies from his group have been consistently published in top-tier journals (Science, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology, PNAS, NEJM, JAMA-Internal Medicine, JACI, Blood) and are widely cited. He is passionate about training the next generation of researchers and has extensive experience in research training and mentoring at the high school (>200), undergraduate (139), graduate (20), medical (16) student, post-doctoral (28) and faculty levels (17) with equal opportunity given to qualified trainees that are underrepresented in the sciences.
- 1986 - MS - Immunology/ Medicine - Univ. of Alberta
- 1983 - MD - Medicine - Armed Forces Medical College
- 11/2009 - Director, Center for Personalized Medicine - South Texas Veterans Hospital, Medicine, San Antonio
- 7/2002 - Professor of Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology & Biochemistry - The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Medicine, San Antonio
- 7/2001 - Director, VA Center for HIV and AIDS Infection - South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Medicine, San Antonio
- 7/1996 - Staff Physician - South Texas Veterans Health Care System,, Medicine, San Antonio
Research & Grants
Dr. Sunil Ahuja oversees an inter- and multi-disciplinary research program at UT Health San Antonio and the Center for Personalized Medicine at the Veterans Administration hospital that links state-of-the-art genomic, immunologic and molecular technologies with epidemiology, clinical, and animal research to identify the determinants of human diseases such as HIV, allergy, and autoimmunity.
Diseases Associated: HIV, allergy, and autoimmunity
Techniques Used: NGS, GWAS, RNA-Seq, FACS, 'Big Data', Bioinformatics
Specific Field of Study: HIV, Aging, Allergic Diseases
Funding Agency U.S. Air Force Medical Service Research Program Title Predicators of Immune Status and Diseases Status Active Period 10/2015 - 2/2020 Role Co-Principal Investigator Grant Detail The proposed work will use Genetics Genomics Proteomics (G2P) technologies to identify determinants of immune/inflammatory responses and disease outcomes will improve precision military medicine and provide novel therapeutic targets. Funding Agency NIH Title CCR5 regulation and promoter variants in HIV-1 infection Status Complete Period 6/1998 - 8/2017 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail This grant explores the role of CCR5 promoter and transcriptional regulation of CCR5 expression
Funding Agency Burroughs-Wellcome Title Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research - HIV-1AIDS Pathogenesis: Bridging the Gap Between Host Genotype and HIV Status Complete Period 7/2001 - 5/2018 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail Unrestricted funds to pursue novel areas in HIV-1 pathogenesis. Currently, we are using funds to investigate novel aspects of DC-SIGN2 in HIV pathogenesis.
Funding Agency VA Merit Title Center for Personalized Medicine: Systems of Biology of Inflammation and Immunity Status Active Period 4/2014 - 3/2018 Role Principal Investigator Grant Detail
Mummidi S, Okulicz JF, Wright EJ, He W, Ahuja SK. Genetic Susceptibilities For NeuroAIDS. The Neurology of AIDS. 3rd edition. In: Editor: Howard E. Gendelman, Igor Grant, Ian Paul Everall, Howard S. Fox, Harris A. Gelbard, Stuart A. Lipton, and Susan Swindells. The Neurology of AIDS. 3rd edition. 2012. p. 71-89.
Ahuja SK, Manoharan MS, Harper NL, Jimenez F, Hobson, BD, Martinez H, Ingale P, Liu Y-G, Carrillo A, Lou Z, Kellog DL, Ahuja SS, Rather CG, Esch RE, Ramirez DA, Clark RA, Nadeau K, Andrews CP, Jacobs RL, He W. Preservation of epithelial cell barrier function and muted inflammation in resistance to allergic rhinoconjunctivitis from house dust mite challenge J Allergy Clin Immunol 2017 Mar;139(3):844-854. Huik K, Avi R, Pauskar M, Kallas E, J?geda EL, Karki T, Ruutel K, Talu A, Abel-Ollo K, Uuskula A, Carrillo A, Ahuja SK, He W, Lutsar I. A CCL5 Haplotype Is Associated with Low Seropositivity Rate of HCV Infection in People Who Inject Drugs PLoS ONE 2016 Jun;11(6). He W, Jimenez F, Martinez H, Harper NL, Manoharan MS, Carillo A, Ingale P, Liu Y, Ahuja SS, Clark RA, Rather CG, Ramirez DA, Andrews CP, Jacobs RL, Ahuja SK. Cockroach sensitization mitigates allergic rhinoconjunctivitis symptom severity in patients allergic to house dust mites and pollen J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015 Sep;136(3):658-666. Gornalusse G, Mummidi S, Gaitan AA, Jimenez F, Ramsuran V, Picton A, Rogers K, Manoharan M, Avadhanam N, Murthy KK, Martinez H, Molano Murillo AM, Chykarenko ZA, Hutt R, Daskalakis D, Shostakovich L, Karim SA, Martin JN, Deeks SJ, Hecht F, Sinclair E, Clark RA, Okulicz J, Valentine FT, Martinson N, Tiemessen CT, Ndung`u T, Hunt PW, He W, Ahuja SK. Epigenetic mechanisms, T-cell activation, and CCR5 genetics interact to regulate T-cell expression of CCR5, the major HIV-1 coreceptor Proc Natl Acad Sci (USA) 2015 Aug;112(34):E4762-E4771. Jacobs RL, Andrews CP, Ramirez DA, Rather CG, Harper N, Jimenez F, Martinez H, Manoharan M, Carrillo A, Gerardi M, Esch RE, He W, Ahuja SK. Symptom dynamics during repeated serial allergen challenge chamber exposures to house dust mite J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015 Apr;135(4):1071-1075. Okulicz JF, Le TD, Agan BK, Camargo JF, Landrum ML, Wright E, Dolan ML, Ganesan A, Ferguson TM, Smith DM, Richman DD, Little SL, Clark RA, He W, Ahuja SK. Influence of the timing of antiretroviral therapy on the potential for normalization of immune status in human immunodeficiency virus 1-infected individuals JAMA Internal Med 2015 Jan;175(1):88-99. Jacobs RL, Harper N, He W, Andrews CP, Rather CG, Ramirez DA, Ahuja SK. Effect of confounding cofactors on responses to pollens during natural season versus pollen challenge chamber exposure J Allergy Clin Immunol 2014 May;133(5):1340-1346. Huik K, Avi R, Uibopuu H, Pauskar M, Margus T, Karki T, Krispin T, Kool P, Ruutel K, Talu A, Abel-Ollo K, Uuskula A, Carrillo A, He W, Ahuja SK, Lutsar I. Association between HIV-1 tropism and CCR5 human haplotype E in a Caucasian population J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2014 Mar;66(3):239-244. Jacobs RL, Harper N, He W, Andrews CP, Rather CG, Ramirez DA, Ahuja SK. Responses to ragweed pollen in a pollen challenge chamber versus seasonal exposure identify allergic rhinoconjunctivitis endotypes J Allergy Clin Immunol 2012 Jul;130(1):122-127. Mamtani M, Mummidi S, Ramsuran V, Pham MH, Maldonado R, Begum K, Valera MS, Sanchez R, Castiblanco J, Kulkarni H, Ndunga??u T, He W, Anaya JM, Ahuja SK. Influence of Variations in CCL3L1 and CCR5 on Tuberculosis in a Northwestern Colombian Population J Infect Dis 2011 Jun;203(11):1590-1594. Kalkonde YV, Morgan WW, Sigala J, MAFFI SK, Condello C, Kuziel W, Ahuja SS, Ahuja SK. Chemokines in the MPTP model of Parkinson`s disease: absence of CCL2 and its receptor CCR2 does not protect against striatal neurodegeneration Brain Res 2007 Jan;1128(1):1-11.
- American Board of Internal Medicine