Dr. Witwer investigates extracellular vesicles (EVs) and ribonucleic acids (RNAs) in human disease, including HIV, neurodegenerative diseases, and substance use. RNA molecules are found not only inside, but also outside of human cells in biological fluids such as blood plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid. Although quite labile, these molecules are protected from degradation by molecular shuttles such as EVs. Rapidly expanding research programs over the last several years indicate that EVs and their nucleic acid cargo may provide early warning of disease, contribute to the defense against disease, and serve as models for effective therapies.
Major funded projects
- Next-generation extracellular vesicle biologics to target central nervous system and peripheral reservoirs of HIV (NIAID)
- Extracellular Vesicle and Extracellular RNA Biomarkers of HIV-1 Central Nervous System Pathogenesis and Cigarette Use (NIDA)
- Extracellular Vesicle-Mediated Immunomodulation in HIV Infection and Nicotine Abuse (NIDA)
- Novel Separation Methods for exRNA Carriers: Extracellular Vesicles, Lipoprotein Particles, and Protein Aggregates (Common Fund/NCI)
- Microglial exosomes/extracellular vesicles as novel markers of neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease (Michael J. Fox Foundation)
- Novel Approaches to Capture, Sorting, and Characterization of CNS-Origin Extracellular Vesicles (NIMH)
Motivated prospective postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate researchers are encouraged to contact Dr. Witwer directly about available opportunities. Rotation projects are open to Cellular and Molecular Medicine students.
Lab Website: Ken Witwer Laboratory
Technology Expertise Keywords
miRNA, genome editing, ultracentrifugation, microarray, RNA-seq, in situ hybridization, molecular biology, immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry; single particle tracking
View all on Pubmed
Liao Z, Martin Jaular L, Soueidi E, Jouve M, Muth DC, Schøyen TH, Seale T, Haughey NJ, Ostrowski M, Théry C*, Witwer KW*. Acetylcholinesterase is not a generic marker of extracellular vesicles. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 2019.
Théry C* and Witwer KW,* et al (corresponding of 382 authors). Minimal Information for Studies of Extracellular Vesicles 2018 (MISEV2018): a position statement of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles and update of the MISEV2014 guidelines. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles 2018.
EV-TRACK Consortium, Van Deun J, Mestdagh P, et al. EV-TRACK: transparent reporting and centralizing knowledge in extracellular vesicle research. Nature Methods 2017.
Kim V, Mears B, Powell BH, Witwer KW. Mutant Cas9-transcriptional activator activates HIV-1 in the presence and absence of LTR-specific guide RNAs. Science Matters 2017.
Eitan E, Hutchison ER, Marosi K, Comotto J, Mustapic M, Nigam S, Suire C, Maharana C, Machairaki V, Witwer KW, Kapogiannis D, Koliatsos VE, Mattson MP. Extracellular Vesicle-Associated Aβ Mediates Trans-Neuronal Bioenergetic and Ca2+-Handling Deficits in Alzheimer's Disease Models. Nature Partner Journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease 2016.