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Extracellular vesicles – tiny delivery vans for pathogenic viral proteins

HIV infection is associated with an increased number of extracellular vesicles (EVs) within the blood. EVs are small (<1µm) membrane-bound particles released from cells which carry a variety of protein and nucleic acid cargoes. EV can be hijacked by viruses such as HIV to transport pathogenic viral proteins around the body. We believe EVs carrying HIV proteins play an important role in driving persistent immune dysfunction and increasing the risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease in people with HIV. The analysis of EVs is challenged by their small size, but modern technologies such as imaging flow cytometry offer a new and improved method for analysing these particles. This project aims to establish and utilize techniques to measure and characterise EV in people with HIV using the AMNIS ImageStream imaging flow cytometer. These techniques will be used to study EV secreted from HIV-infected cells and in stored plasma samples to investigate the association between EVs and disease outcomes such cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions. The ultimate goal of this research is to identify predictive biomarkers of CVD in HIV and novel strategies which can be targeted to prevent cardiovascular events. This is a laboratory based project which involves the following techniques: imaging flow cytometry, cell culture, EV isolation, ELISAs, statistics.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
HIV, extracellular vesicles, imaging flow cytometry, immunology, virology
Available options 
Masters by research
Time commitment 
Physical location 
Burnet Institute
Assoc Prof 
Anthony Jaworowski

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