Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Upal Roy

Second Advisor

Dr. Mario Gil

Third Advisor

Dr. Hansapani Rodrigo


According to the world health organization (WHO), 37.7 million people worldwide in 2020 were living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1). In the US, combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) drugs have shown effectiveness in combating HIV-1 infection. As a result, cART has prolonged the lifespan of people with HIV aiding these patients to age with the virus. Clinical evidence has established the long-term effects of cART in the aging population causing neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression. However, the underline molecular mechanism that cART induces depression-related neurodegeneration has not been established. This study will pursue a dopamine (DA) dysregulation marker in cART treatment through in vitro conditions. Additionally, this study will establish the role of human protein DJ-1 as a neuronal marker and its correlation with other neuronal proteins. Characterizing the correlation between DJ-1 and cART mediated neurodegeneration will contribute to the early detection of depression.


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Available for download on Friday, July 25, 2025