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Extracellular Vesicles, HIV-1, and Neurospheres: Touching a Nerve

December 02, 2021, at 12:00 PM ET


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) such as exosomes play major roles in intercellular communication, making them crucial for multiple physiological and pathological processes. Depending on the donor cells, these effects may be either beneficial or harmful to recipient cells. HIV-1 remains an incurable infection; despite the development of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) are still reported to affect at least 50% of HIV-1 infected individuals. In recent years, neurospheres derived from neural progenitor cells (NPCs) have been utilized to model the effects of different neurotropic viruses.

In this webinar we will examine the potential effects of stem cell-derived EVs on HIV-1-infected, NPC-originated neurospheres. We will present data suggesting that stem cell-originated EVs may modulate neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties in damaged cells. Moreover, these data will demonstrate the feasibility of NPC-derived neurospheres for modeling HIV-1 infection and the potential of stem cell EVs for rescuing cellular damage induced by HIV-1 infection. Finally, the webinar will close with a lively Q and A session where industry experts will discuss the audience’s questions.

Key Points

  • An update on the most recent literature surrounding EV research in the context of viral infections.
  • iPSC-derived NPCs have been utilized for the generation of 3D neurospheres.
  • NPC-originated neurospheres are permissive to retroviral infection and may harbor latently infected cells.
  • Stem cell EVs have demonstrated reparative properties in virally infected NPC-derived neurospheres.

Watch the Presentation


Fatah Kashanchi, headshot.

Fatah Kashanchi, PhD

Professor, George Mason University

Dr. Kashanchi is a tenured Professor at George Mason University (GMU) and the Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Virology. His research focuses on the mechanisms of viral gene expression and the dynamics of viral replication and host survival. He has published 220 peer reviewed manuscripts (h index = 59), served as an editorial board and reviewer for numerous scientific journals, and is a regular NIH study section member. Recently, Dr. Kashanchi's lab has concentrated on the roles of EVs and exosomes in viral infections. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Kansas and then moved to the National Cancer Institute prior to coming to GMU.

Heather Branscome, headshot.

Heather Branscome, MS, PhD

Supervisor, Laboratory Operations, ATCC

Heather Branscome is a Lead Biologist in Manufacturing Science and Technology at ATCC. She has over 13 years of cross-functional experience working in both cell and molecular biology laboratories. In her current role she leads technology transfer activities for a wide range of products including exosomes/extracellular vesicles, CRISPR/Cas9 engineered cell lines, and induced pluripotent stem cells. She earned her MS in Cell and Molecular Biology from George Mason University and recently earned a PhD in Biosciences. Her primary research interests surround the advanced purification of EVs and the functional analysis of stem cell EVs in the context of CNS repair.