We are studying EVs to advance our understanding of their novel role in the fundamental cellular processes of cell to cell communication and potential biological applications. In the future, we will translate results from these basic biological studies to outcomes with real world impact. Our ultimate aim is to develop methodologies to use EVs for diagnostic purposes in medicine and agriculture and as tools to deliver therapeutics in humans, animals and plants.
We are developing new, rapid and rigorous methodologies for EV isolation and characterisation. This enables extraction and functional analysis of distinct EV subtypes from biofluids and clinical samples, quantification of the biophysical, genetic, protein, and lipid makeup and how this exerts functional changes in target tissues.
Our researchers are also dissecting vesicle biogenesis - the cellular pathways that regulate how different EVs, called exosomes, microvesicles and apoptotic vesicles are formed and released by cells. Once we understand this, it may be possible to manipulate different stages in a targeted way and control cell to cell communication.
EVs represent a reservoir of new biomarkers for pathogenesis and susceptibility to disease and as drug delivery vehicles for novel therapeutics. We are studying novel and specific disease associated biomarkers in EVs isolated from clinical samples, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and the early stage of pregnancy.
We are also studying the role of EVs in host-pathogen communication during fungal and bacterial pathogenesis and in the transfer of antibiotic resistance.