Dissertation Title and Summary

The Neuropathophysiology of Visual System Dysfunction in a Novel Model Expressing HIV-1 Genes

HIV infection has been a global epidemic since the 1980’s. There are 38 million HIV infected persons globally. Internationally, about 1.7 million individuals were diagnosed in 2019 with only 67% of those individuals having access to antiviral medications. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has reduced the incidence of infectious retinopathy such as cytomegalovirus, however non-infectious retinopathy persists. The mechanism behind this damage and dysfunction despite ART has yet to be elucidated. My research aims to identify the cause of HIV-1 associated vision loss by visualizing damage throughout the visual pathway using histology and immunohistochemistry.


Myla D. Worthington is a current Ph.D. candidate at Morgan State University studying HIV-1 associated neurological dysfunction and vision loss. Hailing from Clinton, Maryland, she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biology with a concentration in pre-medicine from Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina where she researched Cancer Biology. Myla has been trained in an array of scientific methods including cell culture, plasmid isolation, assay work including LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification), and histology. Myla hopes to use her scientific training to improve the livelihood of those affected by cancer and HIV.


Denaro, F., Worthington, M., Richard, S.O., Atanda, F., Boddy, D., Dunham, S., Johnson, J., Wachira, J. (2023), 3D Auto Flourescent Analysis of the Human Cornea, Microscopy and Microanalysis, Volume 29, Issue Supplement_1, 1, Pages 2109-2110.

Denaro, F., Williams, S., Worthington, M., Davis, H., & Bryant, J. (2023). Histopathological Changes in the Heart of the HIV-1 Transgenic Rat.

Worthington, M., Williams, S., Benedetti, F., Zella, D., Davis, H., Bryant, J., & Denaro, F. (2022). Identification of Increased Blood Brain Barrier Permeability in the Visual Cortex of the HIV-1Transgenic Rat. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 28(S1), 2950-2951.

Worthington, M., Aurelus, C., Banerjee, N., Krauss, C., Kahan, W., Banerjee, S., … & Banerjee, H. N. (2022). A Study to Investigate the Role of Noncoding RNA miR146 Alpha as a Potential Biomarker in Prostate Cancer. Journal of analytical oncology, 11, 21.

Denaro, F., Worthington, M., Williams, S., Benedetti, F., Zella, D., Davis, H., & Bryant, J. (2022). Identification of Increased Blood Brain Barrier Permeability in the Substantia Nigra of the HIV-1 Transgenic Rat. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 28(S1), 3214-3215.

Denaro, F., Benedetti, F., Worthington, M. D., Scapagnini, G., Krauss, C. C., Williams, S., . . . Zella, D. (2020). The HIV-1 Transgenic Rat: Relevance for HIV Noninfectious Comorbidity Research. Microorganisms, 8(11), 1643.

Worthington, M., Denaro, F., Benedetti, F., Williams, S., Bryant, J., Zella, D., & Davis, H. (2020). An Immunohistochemical Analysis of Free Radical Stress in the Heart of the HIV-1 Transgenic Rat. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 26(S2), 1342-1344.

Denaro, F., Worthington, M., Benedetti, F., Curreli, S., Zella, D., & Bryant, J. (2019). Chronic Oxidative Stress and Comorbidities in the HIV-1 Transgenic Rat. Microscopy and Microanalysis, 25(S2), 1160-1161.

Banerjee, H., Krauss, C., Worthington, M., Banerjee, N., Walker, R. S., Hodges, S., … & Mandal, S. (2019). Differential expression of efferocytosis and phagocytosis associated genes in tumor associated macrophages exposed to African American patient derived prostate cancer microenvironment. Journal of solid tumors, 9(2), 22.

Banerjee, H. N., Sarkar, F., Worthington, M., Hodge, S., Verma, M., & Mandal, S. (2018). Role of noncoding RNA miR 146 alpha and let 7c in epithelial mesenchymal transition, proliferation, and cancer stem cell-like transformation analyzed by gene expression studies in a cohort of prostate cancer patients. In: AACR.

Banerjee, H., Joyner, J., Stevenson, M., Kaha, W., Krauss, C., Hodges, S., Santos, E., Worthington, M., Rousch, J., Payne, G., Manglik, V., Banerjee, N., Morris, B., Bell, D., Mandal, S. Short Communication: Studying the Role of Smart Flare Gold Nano Particles in Studying Micro RNA and Oncogene Differential Expression in Prostate Cancer Cell Lines., J Can Res Updates. (2017) ; 6(2): 25–28. doi:10.6000/1929-2279.2017.06.02.1.