Aaron Rampersad

Mentor: Dr. Muna Canales
College of Medicine
"During my high school internship in the Neuroscience department at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, I was at the forefront of biomedical research understanding the processes behind learning and memory function in Drosophila flies. I was amazed to be directly involved in the search for novel health advances in medicine. I saw research as a learning experience for me. I observed how every researcher had an area of interest and each day they learned something new, bringing them closer to comprehending the structure and function of biological molecules in model organisms. Since then, I made it my priority to continue involving myself in research and contributing my work to the greater good of the community and to the University of Florida."


Microbiology & Cell Science; Nutritional Sciences



Research Interests

  • Kidney Disease
  • Kidney Injury
  • Sleep Apnea

Academic Awards

  • UF Honors Program
  • Fall 2013 CALS Dean's List
  • UF University Scholars Program 2015-2016


  • Alpha Phi Omega
  • Malcom-Randall Veterans Affairs


  • Salvation Army Community Feedings
  • Project Downtown
  • Habitat for Humanity

Hobbies and Interests

  • Medicine
  • Running
  • DJing
  • Music

Research Description

Sleeping Away Kidney Function: Does the Sleep Apnea Event Cause Subclinical Acute Kidney Injury?
Sleep apnea affects up to 1 in 5 Americans and leads to numerous negative health consequences. Recently, literature has suggested that sleep apnea may also be damaging to the kidneys . Epidemiological data have shown that sleep apnea is more common among those with chronic kidney disease (CKD) when compared to the general population, even after controlling for co-morbid conditions. Furthermore, Dr. Canales and others have found a graded, independent association between the severity of sleep apnea and presence of micro-albuminuria, a marker for kidney injury. Their data also showed that this association was most strongly associated with hypoxia or low oxygen levels during disturbed sleep. It is hypothesized that nightly exposure to intermittent hypoxia (over 30 times per hour in severe cases) may lead to ischemia-reperfusion injury with subsequent oxidative stress, inflammation, and, as a result, endothelial damage to the kidney. That is, patients with sleep apnea may be experiencing nightly subclinical “acute kidney injury (AKI)” episodes that cumulatively lead to sustained renal injury. To prove that subclinical AKI is occurring, biopsy of kidney tissue is required which is cumbersome and prohibitive. However, biomarkers of renal injury exist that allow sensitive detection of subclinical AKI as an alternative to the kidney biopsy. The Sleep and Nephrology Outcomes Research (SNORE) study is an ongoing prospective study on the impact of sleep apnea on kidney function in 250 enrolled veterans with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease (CKD). As part of this study, veterans undergo a full sleep study at baseline. Given the dearth of research on sleep apnea and subclinical AKI, we propose a pilot ancillary study of 40 SNORE Study participants with the following aim: to compare the evening and morning levels of urinary biomarkers of renal injury between individuals with or without sleep apnea. We hypothesize that after a night of sleep, individuals with severe sleep apnea will demonstrate a greater increase in urinary biomarkers of renal injury compared to those without sleep apnea.