Extracellular Vesicle (EV) cancer biology

This project focuses on utilising an integrated proteomic/genomic strategy directed towards characterisation and understanding the role of the extracellular environment (specifically membrane vesicles; exosomes) in cancer progression. We utilise cell culture, functional assay development, lipophilic-labelling, cell sorting, molecular biology, microscopy (confocal, live-cell), and transmission/cryo electron microscopy, mass spectrometry-based protein profiling for discovery and targeted strategies, miR/mRNA profiling and qRT-PCR validation.

This project investigates the role of EVs in cancer progression and metastasis, utilising various in vitro and in vivo cancer/developmental models, including established cell models, primary cells, and animal models. The research will further contribute to understanding how EVs and their cargo regulate the tumour microenvironment.

This project will investigate the following questions:
(1) What are the different methods to purify the secretome and distinct EV subtypes?
(2) What are the distinct functions of the secretome and EVs during cancer initiation, development, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and metastasis?
(3) What cargo/surface components (protein/nucleic acids) are contained within EVs?
(4) Can distinct cargo components in EVs be perturbed using molecular biology?
(5) Develop key methods for characterisation and quantitation of EV cargo.