Maria Cecilia Marcondes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Neurological Disorders

Research Focus

Following a Major in Analytical Chemistry and a BSc in Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Cecilia Marcondes received an MS in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in the Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil in 1996. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Molecular Pathogenesis at the Skirball Institute, New York University Medical Center, and then in the Department of Neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA.

In 2011, she became Assistant Professor of Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department (MIND) at The Scripps Research Institute. Currently, she is also Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Scripps Research Neurosciences Department, and a member of several scientific societies, including the American Association of Immunology (AAI), and the Society for Neurosciences (SFN). She is currently an active member of the Diversity and Inclusion committee of the prestigious Society for Neuroimmune Pharmacology (SNIP).

Her recent studies have focused on central nervous system (CNS) dysfunctions associated with HIV infection and the roles played by co-morbidities such as drug abuse and aging, on aggravating neuroimmune pathogenesis. Her work on the role of neurotransmitters in modifying the immune response against the virus and promoting chronic inflammation uses a diversity of cell and animal models, and a multidisciplinary approach. She believes in the power of collaboration to advance science and promote rigor in the experimental design and execution process.


Ph.D. in Immunology, University of Sao Paulo, 1996
MS in Immunepathology of Tropical Diseases, University of Sao Paulo, 1991
BS in Behavior of Social Insects, Immunology and Microbiology, University of Santa Amaro, 1986

Professional Experience

2017 – Present, Associate Professor, Multiple Sclerosis Medical Research Center
2017 – Present, Associate Professor, Ballad Research Institute
2017 – Present, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Neuroscience Department, The Scripps Research Institute
2015 – 2020 Member, Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center
2005 – 2011, Staff Scientist, The Scripps Research Institute
1992 – 1997, Faculty, Immunology, Universidade Cidade de Sao Paulo
1987 – 1992, Science Instructor, Estaçao Ciencia (Science Museum)
1986 – 1997, Research and Development, Salck Industria e Comercio de Produtos Biologicos Ltda

Honors and Awards

Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in neuroAIDS, UCSD, 2015 – 2019
Junior Scientist Award, 26th Non-Human Primate Models of AIDS, 2008
International Society of Neuroimmunology Award, 2006
Brazilian Society of Immunology Award, 2005

Professional Activities

Editor for “HIV and Drugs of Abuse” Special Issue in Viruses, 2021
Editorial Board for Immunological Tolerance and Regulation specialty section of Frontiers in Immunology, 2021 – Present
Editorial Board for Viruses, 2021
Member, HIV co-morbidities and Clinical Studies Study Section (NIH), 2021
Chair – Institutional Review Board, San Diego BioMed, 2018 – Present
Committee Member, Society of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 2011 – Present
Member, Society for Neurosciences, 2011 – Present
Member, American Association of Immunologists, 2004 – Present

Select Publications

Basova LV, Kesby JP, Kaul M, Semenova S, Marcondes MCG. Systems Biology Analysis of the Antagonizing Effects of HIV-1 Tat Expression in the Brain over Transcriptional Changes Caused by Methamphetamine Sensitization. Viruses. 2020 Apr 9;12(4).


Tjitro R, Campbell LA, Basova L, Johnson J, Najera JA, Lindsey A and Marcondes MC. Modeling the Function of TATA Box Binding Protein in Transcriptional Changes Induced by HIV-1 Tat in Innate Immune Cells and the Effect of Methamphetamine Exposure. Front Immunol. 2019;9:3110.


Kesby JP, Chang A, Najera JA, Marcondes MCG, Semenova S. Brain Reward Function after Chronic and Binge Methamphetamine Regimens in Mice Expressing the HIV-1 TAT Protein. Curr HIV Res. 2019;17(2):126-133.


Basova L, Najera JA, Bortell N, Wang D, Moya R, Lindsey A, Semenova S, Ellis RJ, Marcondes MCG. Dopamine and its receptors play a role in the modulation of CCR5 expression in innate immune cells following exposure to Methamphetamine: Implications to HIV infection. PLoS One. 2018;13(6):e0199861. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199861. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 29944719; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6019408.


Bortell N, Basova L, Najera JA, Morsey B, Fox HS, Marcondes MCG. Sirtuin 1-Chromatin-Binding Dynamics Points to a Common Mechanism Regulating Inflammatory Targets in SIV Infection and in the Aging Brain. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2018;13(2):163-178.


Kesby JP, Najera JA, Romoli B, Fang Y, Basova L, Birmingham A, Marcondes MCG, Dulcis D, Semenova S. HIV-1 TAT protein enhances sensitization to methamphetamineby affecting dopaminergic function. Brain Behav Immun. 2017. 65:210-221.


Bortell N, Basova L, Semenova S, Fox HS, Ravasi T, Marcondes MCG. Astrocyte-specific overexpressed gene signatures in response to methamphetamine exposure in vitro. Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2017;14:49.


Najera JA, Bustamante EA, Bortell N, Morsey B, Fox HS, Ravasi T, Marcondes MC. Methamphetamine abuse affects gene expression in brain-derived microglia of SIV-infected macaques to enhance inflammation and promote virus targets. BMC Immunol. 2016 Apr 23;17(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s12865-016-0145-0. PubMed PMID: 27107567; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4841970.


Bortell N, Morsey B, Basova L, Fox HS, Marcondes MCG. Phenotypic changes in the brain of SIV-infected macaques exposed to methamphetamine parallel macrophage activation patterns induced by the common gamma-chain cytokine system. Frontiers in Microbiology. 2015;6:900.


All of Dr. Maria Cecilia Marcondes’ Publications

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