Who’s Who in SA: Sunil Ahuja, M.D.

Sunil K. Ahuja, MD, serves as a Professor and Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. He serves as a professor of medicine; microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics; and biochemistry and structural biology at UT Health San Antonio. He also serves as Director of Research Enhancement Programs and as the President’s Council/Dielmann Chair of Excellence in Medical Research.

As a renowned researcher in immune system studies in aging, allergy/asthma and serious infectious diseases (including COVID-19), Dr. Ahuja has secured federal and foundation grants totaling approximately $45 million since 1996. Leaders in his field have recognized his work, including Dr. Anthony Fauci with whom Dr. Ahuja worked while serving at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Ahuja is highly recognized for his research work on HIV/AIDS. At NIH, he was a key research team member discovering the cellular molecule that was shown to be used by the HIV-1 virus to enter white blood cells. His team’s work was pivotal in defining the genetic basis for why individuals vary in their susceptibility to HIV/AIDS. Most recently, he pioneered the concept of immune resilience: a process by which some persons resist developing serious infections and live longer lives. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ahuja and his group translated the concept of immune resilience to improving outcomes in treating veterans with COVID-19 infections.

In a recommendation letter, Dr. Fauci wrote of Dr. Ahuja in 2005, “Our excellent training program at NIH has trained some of the top leaders in infectious disease in this country. Sunil was among our very best clinicians and our very best research fellows. I have watched over 100 NIAID fellows develop their careers after leaving here, and would place Dr. Ahuja in the top half-dozen in terms of scientific stature.”


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