Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Science


Although Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) is practiced, HIV-1 positive individuals still experience HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), collectively described as the presentation of neurocognitive, behavioral and motor dysfunctions that decrease the quality of life, while increasing the mortality in ART suppressed HIV-1 positive patients.

Current literature suggests that extracellular vesicles are involved in the pathogenesis of HAND as they are believed to be transferring HIV-1 proteins to nearby neuronal cells. Although most studies assume homogeneity among populations, characterizing cellular proteins or RNA levels in bulk, we hypothesize that distinct populations of extracellular vesicles are released and that environmental conditions, including viral infections, can alter this population. Through the developed method of single vesicle analysis, we have been able to characterize such populations. Assessment at the level of a single vesicle will shed light on their heterogeneity and begin unique analysis of their suspected involvement in a variety cellular processes.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.