Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanoparticles 30-1000 nm in size with an aqueous core and phospholipid membranes. They are produced by cells particularly when cells are activated. Historically they have been implicated in 'cell waste management' and activation of coagulation through phosphatidylserine exposure. Currently, the discovery that they contain selected miRNAs and proteins that can be transferred from one cell to another suggests a new form of long distance intercellular communication.
The Schiffelers lab studies EVs as potential drug carriers. We develop methods for large scale EV isolation, investigate tools for drug loading and design novel ways to achieve cell targeting. In addition, we aim to characterize EV components important for uptake and processing by target cells, in order to improve synthetic drug delivery systems through EV-inspired engineering.