Mariana Cherner, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor


Contact Information

T: (619) 543-5048
F: (619) 543-1235


Mariana Cherner is Associate Professor In Residence in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD as well as a faculty member in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from Cornell University and obtained her Ph.D. at the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, specializing in neuropsychology and behavioral medicine. She completed a clinical psychology internship at the University of Washington, where she also received postdoctoral training in neuropsychology. Dr. Cherner directs the Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDS (IRFN) and is an investigator within the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC) and the Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC). Her research is on neurobehavioral correlates of HIV and stimulant dependence, focusing on individual differences in vulnerability to methamphetamine-related brain dysfunction and HIV transmission risk behaviors. She is also interested in culturally competent neuropsychological assessment, with a focus on Spanish speakers and HIV in resource-limited settings.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Cherner has an interest in the role of coexisting conditions such as stimulant drug (methamphetamine, MDMA) abuse and hepatitis C in the manifestation of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Her current work focuses on genetically determined individual differences in vulnerability to brain dysfunction among methamphetamine users with HIV. The other focus of her research is in the area of cross-cultural neuropsychology, with a special interest in international neuroAIDS research and culturally competent assessment of cognitive abilities in Spanish speakers. She conducts her work within the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program, where she is an investigator on a number of federally funded projects. She also directs the Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship in NeuroAIDS and participates in training and mentorship of pre- and postdoctoral researchers.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Cherner is a licensed clinical psychologist trained in adult neuropsychological assessment, with expertise in cross-cultural neuropsychological evaluation as well as neurobehavioral consequences of infectious disease and substance misuse.


  • Cherner M, Bousman C, Letendre S, Barron D, Vaida F, Atkinson JH, Heaton R, Everall I, Grant I and the HNRC Group. Cytochrome P450-2D6 extensive metabolizers are more vulnerable to methamphetamine-associated neurocognitive impairment: Preliminary findings. (2011). JINS 16, 890–901.
  • Cherner M, Suarez P, Casey C, Deiss R, Letendre S, Marcotte T, Vaida F, Atkinson JH, Grant I, Heaton R and the HNRC Group. (2010). Methamphetamine use parameters do not predict neuropsychological impairment in currently abstinent dependent adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 106, 154-163.
  • Cherner M, Cysique, L, Heaton RK, Marcotte TD, Ellis RJ, Masliah, E, Grant, I, & the HNRC Group. (2007). Neuropathologic confirmation of definitional criteria for HIV associated neurocognitive disorders. Journal of Neurovirology. 13 (1), 23-28.
  • Cherner M, Letendre SL, Heaton RK, Durelle J, Marquie-Beck J, Gragg B, Grant I. (2005). Hepatitis C augments cognitive deficits associated with HIV infection and methamphetamine. Neurology, 64, 1343-1347.
  • Cherner, M., Ellis, R.J., Lazzaretto, D., Young, C., Mindt, M.R., Atkinson, J.H., Grant, I., Heaton, R.K., and the HNRC Group. (2004). Effects of HIV-1 infection and aging on neurobehavioral functioning: preliminary findings. AIDS, 18 (suppl 1), S27-S34.
  • Cherner M, Masliah E, Ellis RJ, Marcotte TD, Moore DJ, Grant I, Heaton RK. (2002). Neurocognitive dysfunction predicts postmortem findings of HIV encephalitis. Neurology, 59(10), 1563-1567.