Hunter Ramsay

Mentor:

Abdel Alli

College of Medicine

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Minor: N/A

Research Interests: Cardiovascular Disorders, Renal Function, Biomaterials, 

Academic Awards: Benacquisto Scholarship, UF Presidential Gold Award, Emerging Scholars Program, 

Organizations: Theta Chi Fraternity, UF Men's Club Lacrosse Team, 

Volunteer: Dream Team volunteering in the PICU and PCICU at Shands Hospital, Honors Without Borders, 

Hobbies and Interests: Scuba Diving, Wakeboarding, Game of Thrones, Rick and Morty

Research Description:

Exosomes and Hypertension: How the Contents of Exosomes Ultimately Affect ENaC Activity

High blood pressure, hypertension, raises your risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Of those who suffer from hypertension, about half are salt sensitive, meaning that their intake and resulting levels of sodium, dramatically affect their blood pressure. My lab is investigating how bioactive molecules packaged within exosomes alter calcium dependent mechanisms that regulate ENaC activity. My project is primarily focused on the effects of administered exosomes on these channels. Exosomes are nano-sized (50 – 150 nanometers) membrane vesicles which are released extracellularly after fusion with the plasma membrane. Exosomes contain biomarkers, signaling lipids, and active enzymes. I am particularly interested in one of these lipids, sphingomyelin, and how its interaction with the recipient cell’s membrane affects ENaC activity. The aim of my project is to elucidate the molecular mechanism of exosomes in regulating ENaC in the kidney. The long term goal is to identify novel drug targets and to develop specific therapeutics.