New Discoveries in Extracellular Vesicle Biology and Technology

New Discoveries in Extracellular Vesicle Biology and Technology

Join us for a virtual workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST Friday, April 23. Scroll past the agenda and bios to register. Someone from the Beckman Institute will be in touch with Zoom information the week of the event.

About this workshop

The mission of the Beckman Institute EVIT Working Group is to bring together our university community focused on the investigation of EVs in the context of both disease and health.

Our goal is to introduce innovation into the traditional workflow of isolating and characterizing EVs, which requires synergistic efforts from faculty in multiple disciplines. This workshop will showcase several national and international investigators, highlighting new discoveries in the areas of cancer, reproduction, therapy, imaging, and manufacturing.

8:30 a.m.
Welcome and overview of efforts on campus, Dr. Marni Boppart, EVIT leader

9 a.m.
EVs and Cancer, Dr. Anna Krichevsky, Harvard Medical School, “Diversity and regulatory potential of glioblastoma-derived extracellular RNA.”
Introduction: Dr. Brendan Harley

9:30 a.m.
EVs and Reproduction, Dr. Romana Nowak, UIUC, "Non-Invasive Assessment of Gestational Health via Placental Biomarkers in Urinary Extracellular Vesicles."
Introduction: Dr. Milan or Indrani Bagchi

10 a.m.
EVs and Stem Cells, Alvin Tieu, University of Ottawa (M.D./Ph.D. candidate), “Mesenchymal stem cell EVs: preclinical potential with translational challenges.”
Introduction: Dr. Marni Boppart

10:30 a.m.
EVs and Imaging, Dr. Jelle Penders, Imperial College London, “Raman Spectroscopy: A Versatile Toolbox for Biomolecular Analyses of EVs.” Introduction: Dr. Stephen Boppart

11 a.m.
EVs and Manufacturing, Dr. Young Jik Kwon, UC Irvine, "Extracellular Blebs (EBs): Scalable, Uniform, and Versatile Cellular Vesicles for Clinical Translation and Commercialization."
Introduction: Dr. Hyunjoon Kong

11:30 a.m.
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Matthew Roth, Baylor College of Medicine, “Characterization of EVs and their associated cargo in human biofluids."
Introduction: Dr. Brian Cunningham


About the speakers

Anna Krichevsky

Anna Krichevsky, Ph.D., is an associate professor of neurology/neurobiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. She received her Ph.D. degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. As a postdoctoral fellow, Krichevsky isolated neuronal RNA granules and pioneered the work that led to the recognition of microRNA functions and RNA interference mechanisms in brain physiology and pathology. She performed the first successful RNA interference in mammalian neurons; contributed to the identification of miRNAs in mammalian brain; developed the first high-throughput arrays for miRNA expression profiling; and discovered one of the first oncogenic miRNA, miR-21, that is currently a promising target for various human diseases. Krichevsky’s laboratory identified and studied key miRNAs involved in brain tumors and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Her laboratory also pioneered the identification of miRNA biomarkers for diagnostics and monitoring of primary and metastatic brain tumors. Krichevsky’s work is geared toward RNA medicine and based on multiple successful collaborations. She also serves on the executive committee of the HMS Initiative for RNA Medicine, established to translate RNA research to clinical practice.

Romana A. NowakRomana A. Nowak, Ph.D., is professor of animal sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She received her B.S. and M.S. in animal sciences and obtained her Ph.D. degree in Reproductive Biology from the University of Illinois. Nowak subsequently held postdoctoral fellowships at Cambridge University and Harvard Medical School. Nowak then joined the faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and became research director for the Center for Uterine Fibroids. In 2000, she returned to join the animal sciences faculty at the University of Illinois as a professor. She was selected a University Scholar in 2007. Nowak has served as a reviewer on numerous NIH and USDA review panels and is the incoming editor-in-chief for Biology of Reproduction. Nowak has worked in the area of uterine biology and women’s health for more than 25 years. Her research focuses on three main areas in reproductive biology:

  • the study of uterine fibroids and endometriosis using human and domestic animal model systems
  • the study of embryo implantation and early pregnancy using mouse genetic models
  • the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on the uterus and early embryo development

Alvin TieuAlvin Tieu is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate at the University of Ottawa in Canada. His multidisciplinary work combines clinical research methodology with basic science techniques to study the molecular mediators, pharmacokinetics and therapeutic efficacy of mesenchymal stem cell-derived EVs. He is a Vanier Scholar and Canadian Vascular Network Scholar and was a recipient of the ISEV 2020 Young Investigator Award. Mesenchymal stem cell extracellular vesicles are known to reduce inflammation, promote healing and improve organ function, thereby providing a potential “cell-free” therapy. MSC-EVs are being investigated as therapy for a variety of disease domains with markedly improved outcomes in 97% of studies. Despite these benefits, there are still several key methodological concerns in EV research. Nomenclature is inconsistent and EV isolation/characterization is highly heterogenous with only four studies meeting the MISEV 2018 recommendations. We conducted a meta-analysis for studies of preclinical respiratory illnesses to evaluate these knowledge gaps. We found MSC-EV delivery significantly reduced lung injury and disease progression for both acute and chronic conditions. Moreover, exploratory subgroup analysis allowed us to determine key EV parameters that may be associated with improved efficacy including EV subtype (e.g. small EVs) and isolation technique. Similar meta-analyses are currently underway for other preclinical disease domains (e.g. cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, and myocardial infarction) which will identify conditions that may benefit most from clinical translation of MSC-EVs.

Jelle PendersJelle Penders, Ph.D., is a research associate in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London, U.K. He holds a B.Sc. in chemistry and chemical engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, and a M.Sc. in materials chemistry and nanotechnology from Chalmers University, Sweden. He obtained his Ph.D. in advanced characterisation of methods for nanoformulations with Professor Molly Stevens at Imperial College London. Penders is the co-inventor of SPARTA® and has core expertise in Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy. His talk will focus on single nanoparticle (EV) characterization using SPARTA® and Raman spectroscopy.




Young Jik Kwon

Young Jik Kwon, Ph.D., is a professor at UC Irvine in the pharmaceutical sciences, chemical and biomolecular engineering, biomedical engineering, and molecular biology and biochemistry departments. Following his undergraduate education in biological engineering at Inha University,  Kwon received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Southern California with a focus on retroviral gene delivery in 2003 and completed post-doctoral training in the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley on polymeric vaccine carriers. He moved to UC Irvine in 2007 and advanced to professor in 2015. He currently directs the BioTherapeutics Engineering Laboratory at UC Irvine. His current projects mainly focus on gene therapy, drug delivery, vaccines, and regenerative medicine applications using recombinant viruses, stimuli-degradable polymers, and cellular vesicles. In 2017, he co-founded startup companies Responsive Polymers Therapeutics, Inc. and Jupiter Therapeutics, Inc., based on his research discoveries. Limited scalability of EV production represents a pivotal challenge in clinical application. Induction of EVs by chemical and physical means can trigger the efficient and large-scale preparation of highly homogeneous extracellular blebs. Kwon will present on the efficient and safe creation of EBs for cancer treatment.

Matthew RothMatthew Roth, Ph.D., is currently associate professor and codirector of the Bioinformatics Research Laboratory in the Department of Molecular & Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He holds a B.S. in chemistry from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he studied the molecular mechanisms of T cell receptor gene rearrangement in the laboratory of Dave Kranz. Following his graduate work at Illinois, he was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he examined the function of the GATA-3 transcription factor in T cells, brain, and embryonic development using transgenic and knockout mouse models. Prior to joining Baylor, he served as vice president genomics and vice president business development in technology-based startups developing platforms for large-scale gene expression and web-based applications for genomic and proteomic data processing and analysis.





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