Mentoring Team

Neurophytes Program Director

Amanda Brown, PhD

Program Director
Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience

Dr. Amanda Brown joined Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (JHUSOM) in 2004 and moved up the faculty ranks, achieving to date the level of Associate Professor in December 2016. She has made major contributions to the identification and understanding of cellular pathways involved in primary human macrophages that are required for HIV-1 replication and which promote a proinflammatory environment in the brain. The goal of research in her laboratory is to identify and understand the molecular mechanisms leading to HIV-mediated inflammation in the brain and its impact on neuronal function, learning, and memory. The product encoded by the SPP1 gene is a unique multifunctional protein that is elevated in the central nervous system in HIV-related neuronal damage and other well-known neurodegenerative disorders. Her lab is using several experimental paradigms to test hypotheses, including humanized mice, which can be productively infected with HIV and subjected to neuroimaging and behavioral testing, as well as in vitro human myeloid, and neuronal culture models to dissect and understand molecular mechanisms. With these approaches, the ultimate aim is to apply the knowledge gained to develop new and better treatments to ameliorate HIV-associated cognitive comorbidities. Her research has been funded with support from the National Institutes of Mental Health, the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Landenberger Research Foundation.

Alongside of running an independent laboratory, Dr. Brown is enthusiastically invested in training and inspiring the next generation of neuroscientists and mentoring is a key core competency in this work. Over the last decade, she has directed a philanthropic- and National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) funded program, the Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Science Program: Project Pipeline Baltimore, that provides experiential research training in HIV-associated neuropsychiatric disorders and neuroscience topics to high school students. She co-directs another NIMH-funded program to increase workforce diversity in the area of HIV neuroscience and mental health that targets trainees at the graduate to early career levels. She also serves as co-director of the Developmental Core for the NIMH Johns Hopkins Center for Novel Therapeutics for HIV-Associated Cognitive Disorders, mentoring since its inception over 30 young investigators and early career faculty to secure pilot grant funding and apply for larger grants. Dr. Brown has mentored to date more than 160 high school junior and seniors, and with 10 of the 21 undergraduates, has published cited journal articles with them. Among the undergraduates from URM backgrounds that she has mentored several have received advanced degrees at Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT), University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and the University of Kentucky. These trainees have continued their training to become postdoctoral researchers and physicians. Through the didactic web-based program, Translational Research in NeuroAIDS and Mental Health, she has helped bring training to to over 380 graduate-level to early career faculty. At the institutional level, she has for the last four years, served on the school wide Diversity Leadership Council, and through efforts on the Faculty Development and Recruitment Subcommittee helped formulate recommendations to university leadership and played a key role in the roll out of the Roadmap, a living institution wide plan to increase excellence in diversity and inclusion at all levels of the university. Lastly, she has since 2015, led the JHUSOM clinical neuroscience department’s engagement and outreach efforts with community in Baltimore City, an effort that was established after the Freedie Gray uprising.

Dr. Brown was selected as a Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cell Biology Fellow for 2014, the AAMC Mid-Career Minority Faculty Leadership Seminar and for her work in helping to diversify the training pipeline, in 2014 she received the Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Award. Most recently she was nominated for the Provost Prize for Faculty Excellence in Diversity, nominated for the Inaugural NINDS Story Landis Mentoring Award and in 2018, received the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Living the Hopkins Mission Honor.

Neurophytes Program Co-Director

Glenn Treisman, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Director, AIDS Psychiatry Service
Director of the Pain Treatment Program
Co-Director of the Amos Food, Body, and Mind Center

Glenn Jordan Treisman is the Eugene Meyer III Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is Director of the AIDS Psychiatry Service, The Pain Treatment Program, and his most-recent effort as co-director of the Amos Center, a program that studies atypical GI disorders and the relationship between food, the nervous system of the GI tract, the microbiome, and disease. The Pain treatment Program provides care for chronic pain syndromes and is a national referral resource for patients with intractable pain.

Dr. Treisman is internationally known for his engaging presentations, his efforts to promote the integration of psychiatry and medicine, and his vigorous commitment to the betterment of patient care for underserved populations.  He is best known for his groundbreaking work in the field of HIV, where he has been described as “the father of AIDS psychiatry.”  He is involved in the care of psychiatrically ill HIV infected patients and has been since early in the epidemic.  He described and has raised awareness of the role of mental illness as a driving force in the HIV epidemic as well as a barrier to effective care.  He is the author of The Psychiatry of AIDS, the first comprehensive textbook on the subject, as well as numerous articles on the issues of mental health in the HIV clinic.

As part of a lifelong commitment to education, Dr. Treisman directed the residency program in Psychiatry for nine years, and has delivered lectures at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in courses on Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Pharmacology Clinical Skills, and the Physician in Society course, as well as lectures in the School of Public Heath, the School of Nursing, and in numerous departments.  He is considered to be an outstanding teacher and has received the Chairman’s Award for Teaching from the Department of Medicine. His lectures on psychiatry and medical ethics have earned him international invitations and eponymous lectures including the prestigious Mapother Lecture in London and Findling Lecture at the Mayo Clinic.  Dr. John G Bartlett has referred to his lecture on DNR orders and medical ethics as “the Gettysburg Address of medicine,” and The American College of Physicians recognized his work with the presentation of the William C. Menninger Memorial Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Science of Mental Health.

Norman Haughey, PhD

Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Neurology

Joel Blankson, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine and Molecular & Comparative Pathobiology

Leah Rubin, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor of Neurology, Epidemiology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Center Co-Director: JHU NIMH Center for Novel Therapeutics for HIV-associated Cognitive Disorders

Dionna Williams, PhD

Assistant Professor of Molecular & Comparative Pathobiology and Medicine

In Memoriam: Ned Sacktor, MD

Professional Development Team

Asante Kamkwalala, PhD

Dr. Asante Kamkwalala is a Research Associate in the Department of Neurology, Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. A Maryland native, she trained as a cognitive and behavioral neuroscientist and received her Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University in 2009, and her Doctorate (Ph.D.) from Vanderbilt University in Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience in 2019.

Dr. Kamkwalala returned to Maryland as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Johns Hopkins Department from 2019-2022. Her research experience in the past has focused on the effects of chronic stress and disease on neurocognitive functioning and mental health symptoms. Her previous work has investigated neurophysiological biomarkers of stress, the effects of age and HIV on cognitive function, and determining biological, medical, and epidemiological factors that contribute to improved neurobehavioral outcomes in people with HIV.

Clara Giles Carter, Ed.D.

Dr. Clara Giles Carter is known across the country for her knowledge, skills, expertise and commitment to youth mentoring. As a former Director of the Maryland Mentoring Resource Center, she contributed to the successful efforts in making mentoring an integral part of Maryland’s social fabric.

Cathleen Hanson, Director, International School of Protocol

Ms. Hanson provides training for business executives, corporations, politicians, groups, schools and colleges and has appeared on radio and television talk shows. Prior to founding The International School of Protocol, Cathleen Hanson was a university professor of communication and nationally recognized speech and debate coach. In addition to coaching national champions in speech and debate, she taught courses in the area of public speaking, business communication, group communication, and nonverbal communication. She is an award winning speaker and writer whose syndicated columns appeared in over 30 publications nationwide. As a fully engaging top-notch teacher, her emphasis is on teaching adults, teens and children what she considers to be skills for life. Ms. Hanson holds a Masters in Communication Theory and Research and is also a founding partner of Road to Success: Career Development Program.

Heather Thomas, M.B.A., Program Manager

Mrs. Thomas provides research management for sponsored and non-sponsored grants funded federally by the NIH, as well from other philanthropic donors. She excels at program creation, planning, operation, and advancement, especially for programs related to high school and university-level medical training, basic and clinical research, and mentoring the next generation of scientists.