The Sci-Files – 4/19/2020 – Victoria Toomajian – Extracellular Vesicle Communication and the Heart

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Victoria Toomajian. Victoria is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the MSU Biomedical Engineering department, in the Contag Lab. She studies the use of extracellular vesicles as a delivery tool, focusing on the heart post-myocardial infarction as a therapeutic target.

Victoria Toomajian in Lab by an ultracentrifuge
Victoria Toomajian in Lab by an ultracentrifuge

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small, membrane-bound particles released from cells, which play a role in cell to cell communication. They naturally contain a variety of molecular cargo including proteins and nucleic acids, and it has been shown that they can be used to deliver drugs, RNA, and DNA in vivo and in vitro. EVs are believed to have some advantages over synthetic delivery tools due to their natural biocompatibility, potential natural targeting abilities, and ability to cross natural barriers. Victoria’s work uses immune cell-derived EVs, which have been used as delivery vehicles to areas of inflammation, to delivery therapeutic cargo to the heart, which is inflamed after injury. She will also be examining the mechanisms behind immune cell-derived EVs trafficking to areas of inflammation and EV distribution.

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