Walter Royal, III, M.D.

Walter Royal, III, M.D. 

Professor - Chair



Neuroscience Institute
Phone: (404) 752-5222


National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute of Health
Volunteer: Neuroimmunology Branch 

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Fellowship: Neurovirology/Neuroimmunology

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Residency training: Neurology

Faulkner Hospital
Residency training: Internal Medicine

Dartmouth/Geisel Medical School
Degree: Medicine

Harvard College
Degree: A.B. Biochemical Sciences

Research Interests

  • Mechanisms of neurodegeneration in neuroinflammatory disorders
  • Molecular and cognitive/behavioral studies in transgenic rat models
  • The roles of gender/sex differences
  • Mechanisms of addiction

Neurovirology and Neuroimmunology:
Models of Neurodegeneration and Neuroprotection in HIV Infection
HIV infection, which has no cure, is associated with severe disparities in health. More than half of infected individuals develop neurocognitive impairment (NCI), which, mechanistically, results from damage induced by chronic inflammation and neurotoxicity triggered by HIV proteins and external factors, including abused substances.

Research in my lab involves the following:

  • Molecular, structural and behavioral studies of a non-infectious transgenic rat model of HIV-1 infection., which abnormalities that occur in humans, including cognitive impairment.
  • Sex/gender differences on the risk of NCI and the underlying mechanisms.
  • Mechanisms of addiction and interactions with HIV-related effects on the brain.


  • Royal W 3rd, Can A, Gould TD, Guo M, Huse J, Jackson M, Davis H, Bryant J. Cigarette smoke and nicotine effects on brain proinflammatory responses and behavioral and motor function in HIV-1 transgenic rats. J Neurovirol. 2018 Apr;24(2):246-253. doi: 10.1007/s13365-018-0623-7. PMID: 29644536.
  • Jumare J, Akolo C, Ndembi N, Bwala S, Alabi P, Okwuasaba K, Adebiyi R, Umlauf A, Cherner M, Abimiku A, Charurat M, Blattner WA, Royal W 3rd. Elevated Plasma Levels of sCD14 and MCP-1 are associated with HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders among Antiretroviral Naïve Individuals in Nigeria. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2020 Feb 7. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000002320. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Royal W 3rd; Cherner M; Burdo T, Akolo C; Okwuasaba K; Umlauf A; Eyzaguirre L; Guo M; Letendre S; Abimiku A; Jumare J, Williams K; Blattner W. Associations between Cognition, Gender and Monocyte Activation among HIV Infected Individuals in Nigeria. PLOS ONE. 2016;11(2):e0147182. doi: 10.1371. PMID: 26829391.
  • Khanna A, Guo M, Mehra M, Royal W 3rd. Inflammation and oxidative stress induced by cigarette smoke in Lewis rat brains. J Neuroimmunol. 2013;254:69-75. Vitamin A deficiency and behavioral and motor deficits in the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transgenic rat. J Neurovirol. 2009 Sep;15(5-6):380-9. PMID: 19995129.
  • Royal W 3rd, Zhang L, Guo M, Jones O, Davis H, Bryant JL. Immune activation, viral gene product expression and neurotoxicity in the HIV-1 transgenic rat. J Neuroimmunol. 2012 Jun 15;247(1-2):16-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2012.03.015. Epub 2012 Apr 12. PMID: 22503372.