Andrea Raymond, PhD, joined Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in 2012. Her research has focused on understanding the impact and role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the pathogenesis of neurotropic viruses specifically, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Zika Virus(ZIKV). EVs include microvesicles and exosomes both of which have been shown to modulate immune responses, to disrupt cellular functions, and to contain several oncological biomarkers critical for some cancer diagnostics. Raymond’s lab is among the first to demonstrate a potential role for exosomal EVs in HIV-associated neuropathogenesis. Her research group has shown in vitro that HIV-infected cells release EVs containing the HIV Nef protein and has demonstrated ex vivo the presence Nef-containing EVs in the serum of aviremic HIV-infected subjects. However, the functional role of these Nef-containing EVs in HIV neuropathogenesis is still unknown. Raymond seeks to understand how the content (and function) of brain cell-derived EVs vary upon HIV infection and/or opiate exposure. Ultimately, the Raymond lab research focuses on the identification of EV-based associated with biomarkers HIV neuropathogenesis and opiate addiction.
Studying the initiation and regulation of anti-viral immunity Understanding molecular mechanism HIV/AIDS and substance abuse, specifically opiates and cocaine Investigating the role of HIV Negative factor(Nef) and Exosomal Extracellular Vesicles(xEVs) in HIV-associated neuropathology/neurocognitive impairment(NCI) Identfying xEV-based biosignatures/biomarkers of NCI HIV-associated NCI and cancers. Develop a personalized Nanomedicine approach to treat HIV neuropathology/AIDS associated cancers using an xEV-based nanotherapeutic.