My research group aims to unravel the role of intercellular communication in biological systems via extracellular vesicles with specific emphasis on the regulation of the immune system. Nowadays cell-derived vesicles are being recognized as important messengers comprised of selected proteins, (small)RNAs and lipids involved in the modulation of specific target cells.  The main focus of the research is on the (functional) characterization of vesicle populations involved in immune cell regulation. For this we use proteomics, genomics and lipidomics approaches and employ a high resolution flow cytometry-based method developed by my group which enables quantitative and qualitative analysis of individual nano-sized vesicles. We aim to identify immune-regulatory vesicles in body fluids, e.g. in breast milk and blood, and try to reveal their origin and factors that influence the selection of vesicular cargo and the release of different immune-regulatory vesicle subsets. Besides fundamental research we exploit whether specific vesicular-signatures in body fluids may be used as biomarkers, and we aim to develop cell-derived vesicle inspired nano-carriers for clinical application.

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