Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Microbiology and Immunology


Patients infected with HIV-1 adhering to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) still suffer from a variety of neurocognitive, behavioral, and motor dysfunctions, collectively referred to has HIV-1 Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND). Current research suggests the manifestations of HAND might in part be due to the dissemination of toxic HIV-1 components throughout the brain via extracellular vesicles (EVs). Our goal is to characterize these pathogenic EVs to begin to gain a better understanding of this EV-mediated pathology.

We took the first steps in developing a technique to assess the microRNA content of individual EVs but it needs to be heavily optimized to eliminate non-specific signals. We also investigated the biogenesis pathways of the HIV-1 proteins Tat and Nef through drug manipulation of autophagy. Unfortunately, the fluorescent fusions of these proteins were readily cleaved in our chosen cell line and so incorporation of free GFP and mCherry into EVs interfered with our analyses.

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.