Research

Ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules are found not only inside, but also outside human cells in biological fluids such as blood plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid. Although normally very labile, these molecules are protected from degradation by molecular shuttles including extracellular vesicles (EV). Rapidly expanding research programs over the last several years indicate that EV and their nucleic acid cargo may provide early warning of disease, contribute to the defense against disease, and serve as models for effective therapies. Dr. Kenneth Witwer’s laboratory investigates extracellular vesicles and RNA in the context of HIV infection and inflammatory disease. The labĀ also actively assesses the effects of diet–on endogenous extracellular RNA or as a delivery pathway–in potential therapeutic approaches.