Joanna Hellmuth, MS, MD


Dr. Joanna Hellmuth is a neurologist who specializes in caring for adult patients with cognitive disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. She has a subspecialty focus in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND).

Hellmuth studies how HIV causes changes in the brain leading to problems with memory, attention and problem solving. Specifically, she examines how HIV-related brain inflammation is associated with the degeneration of neurons. The National Institute of Mental Health has honored her with a four-year K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award on this topic. She also participates in research on acute HIV infection in Bangkok, Thailand.

Hellmuth earned a master of health science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She then completed her medical degree at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, followed by a residency in neurology and a fellowship in behavioral neurology at UCSF. During her residency, she spent six months in rural Haiti with the nongovernmental organization Partners in Health, working alongside local health practitioners to improve delivery of neurologic care.

Hellmuth is an assistant professor of neurology at UCSF. She belongs to the American Academy of Neurology and International Antiviral Society – USA.


Memory and Aging Center
1500 Owens St., Suite 320
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2057
Fax: (415) 353-8292

Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Academic Title

Assistant Professor

More about Joanna Hellmuth


Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, M.H.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2005
University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine 2010


UCSF, Neurology 2014


UCSF Memory and Aging Center, Behavioral Neurology 2017

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Chan P, Patel P, Hellmuth J, Colby DJ, Kroon E, Sacdalan C, Pinyakorn S, Jagodzinski L, Krebs S, Ananworanich J, Valcour V, Spudich S. Distribution of HIV RNA in CSF and Blood is linked to CD4/CD8 Ratio During Acute HIV. J Infect Dis. 2018 May 07.
  2. Chan P, Hellmuth J, Colby D, Kroon E, Sacdalan C, Fletcher J, Patel P, Pinyakorn S, Valcour V, Ananworanich J, Spudich S. Safety of lumbar puncture procedure in an international research setting during acute HIV infection. J Virus Erad. 2018 Jan 01; 4(1):16-20.
  3. Hellmuth J, Colby D, Valcour V, Suttichom D, Spudich S, Ananworanich J, Prueksakaew P, Sailasuta N, Allen I, Jagodzinski LL, Slike B, Ochi D, Paul R. Depression and Anxiety are Common in Acute HIV Infection and Associate with Plasma Immune Activation. AIDS Behav. 2017 Nov; 21(11):3238-3246.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.