Understanding the immunomodulatory effects of cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles

 Supervisor Associate Professor Joy Wolfram

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are nanoparticles that are naturally produced and released by cells. EVs are loaded and decorated with various signalling molecules that play important roles in intercellular communication throughout the body, including at distant sites. In the context of cancer, EVs produced by cancer cells send messages to other cells, which may corrupt them and facilitate tumour progression. One potential effect of EVs is to suppress immune responses that were supposed to fight the cancer. This project aims to investigate the effects of exposing immune cells to cancer cell-derived EVs. The applicant can expect to gain skills in teamwork, tissue culture, molecular biology techniques, approaches to isolate EVs from biological samples, nanoparticle/EV characterization techniques, immune-oncology, microscopy, experimental research design and planning, and data collection and analysis. Students may have opportunities to generate publications from their research and to present their findings at scientific conferences.

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