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Kiran T. Thakur, MD

  • Winifred Mercer Pitkin, M.D. Assistant Professor of Neurology
Kiran T. Thakur, MD

Dr. Kiran Thakur is an inpatient neurologist at Columbia University Medical Center, and is an active clinician taking care of patients admitted to the neurology service and on the consultative service. She has clinical expertise in neuroinfectious diseases and neuroimmunology. Dr. Thakur completed post-doctoral fellowship training in neuroinfectious diseases and neuroimmunology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her neurology residency training was at the Harvard Neurology Residency Program of Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, where she served as chief resident. She completed internal medicine training in the Osler Housestaff training program at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Thakur serves a major teaching role as an inpatient neurologist, and is the recipient of the Lewis P. Rowland Teaching Award. In addition to her clinical work at CUMC, Dr. Thakur works internationally treating patients, educating trainees, and performing clinical research. Dr. Thakur’s research focuses on clinical and translational studies in neuroinfectious diseases and neuroimmunological conditions. She has been involved in scientific and public health efforts around the Zika virus outbreak, and has a specialized interest in emerging neurotropic infections. Additionally, she serves as a consultant for the World Health Organization. Her clinical areas of expertise include neuroinfectious diseases, neuroimmunology, emergency neurology, and community and global health. 

Dr. Thakur's research is funded by the NIH, World Federation of Neurology, and American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Thakur received her Science of Clinical Investigation certification from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2014 and is currently receiving her Masters in Science in clinical trials through the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Departmental Appointments

  • Department of Neurology
    Division of Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology

Education & Training

  • MD, Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Internship: Osler Medical Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Residency: Brigham & Women's Hospital - Harvard Medical School
  • Fellowship: Johns Hopkins Hospital

Community Service

Dr. Thakur co-leads the Community and Global Neurology Program at Columbia University Medical Center.


American Academy of Neurology

American Neurological Association

Infectious Disease Society of America

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

World Neurology Foundation

Global Health Countries

  • India
  • Dominican Republic
  • Chile
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia

Global Health Activities

Dr. Thakur performs clinical research globally in Africa,  Southeast Asia and the Caribbean on neuroinfectious diseases. She additionally serves as a neurology consultant in these regions.

Global Health Activities

Emergency Neurological Life Support Symposium, Columbia Global Center, Santiago, Chile

Clinical research, Blantyre Malaria Project, Blantyre, Malawi

Clinical research, La Romana, Dominican Republic

Clinical research, Bihar, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh

Clinical research and Clinical Observor, Oxford Clinical Research Unit, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Neurology Clerkship Director, Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia            

Neurology Consultant, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Blantyre, Malawi), Kamuzu Central Hospital (Lilongwe, Malawi)

Clinical research, Rakai, Uganda

Honors & Awards

Lewis P. Rowland Teaching Award, Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, 2016

Center for Disease Control Nakona Citation Award, 2014

Research Interests

  • CNS infections
  • Tuberculous meningitis
  • Cerebral malaria
  • Global epidemiological studies on neurological diseases


NIH NINDS K23 "Clinical Impact of Early Pathogen Identification in Acute Neurological Infections" July 1, 2018-July 1, 2023

NIH Grants


    Jul 1 2018 - Jun 30 2023


    Sep 1 2015 - Aug 31 2017


    May 15 2017 - Jun 30 2017


    Jan 5 2017 - Feb 28 2017


    Jul 1 2015 - Jun 30 2016


    Mar 1 2016 - Mar 31 2016


    Aug 27 2015 - Dec 19 2015


Samuel G, DiBartolo-Cordovano R, Taj I, Merriam A, Lopez JM, Torres C, Lantigua RA, Morse S, Chang BP, Gyamfi-Bannerman C, Thakur KT. A survey of the knowledge, attitudes and practices on Zika virus in New York City. BMC Public Health. 2018 Jan 2;18(1):98. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4991-3.

Ho NT, Hoang VMT, LE NNT, Nguyen DT, Tran A, Kaki D, Tran PM, Thompson CN, Ngo MNQ, Truong KH, Nguyen HT, Ha TM, Nguyen CVV, Thwaites GE, Thakur KT, Hesdorffer D, Baker S. A spatial and temporal analysis of paediatric central nervous system infections from 2005 to 2015 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Epidemiol Infect. 2017 Oct 24:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S095026881700228X.

Thompson H, Thakur K. Infections of the Central Nervous System in Returning Travelers and Immigrants. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2017 Oct 3;19(11):45. doi: 10.1007/s11908-017-0594-5.

Mezochow A, Thakur K, Vinnard C. Tuberculous Meningitis in Children and Adults: New Insights for an Ancient Foe. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2017;17(11):85.

Zucker J, Neu N, Chiriboga CA, Hinton VJ, Leonardo M, Sheikh A, Thakur K. Zika Virus-Associated Cognitive Impairment in Adolescent, 2016. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(6):1047-1048.

Rimmer K, Shah H, Thakur K. Expanding medicines for neurological disorders on the World Health Organization Model List. Neurology 2017;88(10):e87-e91.

Miller E, Becker Z, Shalev D, Lee C, Cioroiu C, Thakur K. Probable Zika virus-associated Guillain-Barré syndrome: Challenges with clinico-laboratory diagnosis. Journal of Neurological Sciences 2017;375:367-370.

Roth W, Tyshkov C, Thakur K, Vargas W. Encephalomyelitis Following Definitive Zika Virus Infection. Neurology Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation 2017;4(4):e349.

Merkler AE, Reynolds AS, Gialdini G, Morris NA, Murthy SB, Thakur K, Kamel H. Neurological Complications after Tuberculous Meningitis in a Multi-state cohort in the United States. J Neurol Sci. 2017;375:460-463.

Savic RM, Ruslami R, Hibma JE, Hesseling A, Ramachandran G, Ganiem AR, Swaminathan S, McIlleron H, Gupta A, Thakur K, van Crevel R, Aarnoutse R, Dooley KE. Pediatric tuberculous meningitis: model-based approach to determining optimal doses of the anti-tuberculosis drugs rifampin and levofloxacin for children. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2015 Aug 11.

Thakur KT, Lyons JL, Smith BR, Shinohara RT, Mateen FJ. Stroke in HIV-infected African Americans: a retrospective cohort study. J Neurovirol. 2015 Jul 9

Saylor D, Thakur K, Venkatesan A. Acute encephalitis in the immunocompromised individual. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2015;28(4):330-6

Hardy SJ, Benavides DR, Thakur KT, Probasco JC, Pardo CA. A longitudinally extensive myelopathy in a patient with AIDS. Pract Neurol. 2015 Jun 2

Thakur KT, Mateyo K, Hachaambwa L, et al. Lumbar puncture refusal in sub-Saharan Africa: a call for further understanding and intervention. Neurology 2015;84(19):1988-90.

Thakur KT, McArthur JC, Venkatesan A. CNS Infections in 2014: guns, germs, and will. Lancet Neurology 2015;14(1):20-2.

Sutter R, Kaplan PW, Cervenka MC, Thakur KT, Asemota AO, Venkatesan A, Geocadin RG. Electroencephalography for diagnosis and prognosis of acute encephalitis. Clin Neurophysiol. 2014 Nov 15.

Lyons JL, Thakur KT, Lee R, et al. Utility of measuring (1,3) β-D-glucan in cerebrospinal fluid for the diagnosis of fungal central nervous system infection. J Clin Microbiol. 2014;53(1):319-22

Mikita K, Thakur K, Anstey N, et al. Quantification of Plasmodium Falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 in the cerebrospinal fluid from cerebral malaria patients. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2014;91(3):486-92

Nelson G, Fermo O, Thakur K, et al. Resolution of a fungal mycotic aneurysm after a contaminated steroid injection: a case report. BMC Research Notes 2014;7:327

Fugate JE, Lyons JL, Thakur KT, et al. Infectious causes of stroke-a review. Lancet Infectious Diseases 2014. S1473-3099(14);70755-8

Thakur K, Probasco JC, Hocker SE, et al. Ketogenic Diet for Adults in Super-Refractory Status Epilepticus. Neurology 2014;82(8):665-70

Berkowitz A, Thakur K. Acute Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy Following Malaria: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Journal of Clinical Neurosciences 2014;21(4):704-6.

Kirsch H, Thakur K, Birbeck G. Central Nervous System infections in returning travelers. Current Infectious Disease Reports 2013.15(6):600-11

Litvintseva AP, Lindsley MD, Gade L, Smith R, Chiller T, Lyons JL, Thakur KT, Zhang SX, Grgurich DE, Kerkering TM, Brandt ME, Park BJ. Utility of (1-3)-β-D-glucan testing for diagnostics and monitoring response to treatment during the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections. Clinical Infectious Diseases 2013;58(5):622-30

Thakur K, Motta M, Asemota A, et al. Predictors of Outcome in Acute Encephalitis. Neurology 2013;81(9):793-800

Maynard BF, Bass C, Katanski C, Thakur K, Manoogian B, Leader M, Nichols R. Structure-Activity Relationships of FMRF-NH2 Peptides Demonstrate A Role for the Conserved C Terminus and Unique N-Terminal Extension in Modulating Cardiac Contractility. PLoS One 2013;8(9):e75502

Lyons J, Roos K, Marr K, Neumann H, Trivedi J, Kimbrough D, Steiner L, Thakur K, Harrison D, and Zhang S. Cerebrospinal fluid (1,3) β-D-glucan detection as an aid to diagnose iatrogenic fungal meningitis. J Clin Microbiol. 2013;51(4):1285-7

Thakur K, Zunt J. Neurologic parasitic infections in immigrants and travelers. Semin Neuro. 2011;31(3):231-44

Book chapters/non-peer reviewed manuscripts:

World Health Organization toolkit for the care and support of people affected by complications associated with Zika virus. World Health Organization 2017.

Identification and management of Guillain Barre syndrome in the context of Zika virus. Interim Guidance. World Health Organization 2016.

Assessment of infants with microcephaly in the context of Zika virus. Interim Guidance. World Health Organization 2016.

Thakur KT, Albanese E, Giannakopoulos P, Jette N, Linde M, Prince MJ, Steiner TJ, Dua T. Neurological disorders. Disease Control Priorities, World Bank 2016.

For a complete list of publications, please visit