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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Associate Professor David Greening, Dr Alin Rai and Jonathan Lozano-Salgado

Project summary

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous population of natural lipid bilayer-enclosed particles with direct relevance for intercellular communication. As native EVs, their endogenous properties facilitate their presence in the extracellular space, transverse biological barriers and deliver their biologically active molecular cargo to recipient cells/tissues to regulate cell function and phenotype. Moreover, EVs are an important component of the paracrine effect of stem/progenitor cell-based therapies, used as a drug delivery system in preclinical settings, and candidates as a standalone therapy. Despite the heterogenous nature of native EVs, their endogenous properties make them natural delivery agents as well as features that can be improved using bio/engineering approaches to further their clinical potential for therapeutic application. EVs can be engineered to enhance/modify their stability, bioactivity, presentation and capacity for tropism and target binding at both cell type and tissue levels and modulate the intrinsic properties of native EVs and surface epitopes to improve their targeting efficiency in vivo.

This commercially focused project will address development of therapeutic strategies for cardiac protection and remodelling using cell-derived EVs. A focus on microfluidic EV generation, nanoparticle characterisation, state-of-the-art high-resolution mass spectrometry, post-translational modifications, and cardiac cell biology will lead to important developments in understanding EV generation, storage, and therapeutic application.

This project is suitable for a Master or PhD student.

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