Vascular Immunology Laboratory

Lab head: Professor Georges Grau
Location: K25 - Medical Foundation Building

This laboratory seeks to decipher the fine interactions between microvascular endothelial cells and circulating blood cells, by studying the biology and pathophysiology of microvascular endothelial cells. Diseases such as cerebral malaria, multiple sclerosis and viral encephalitis are being modelled using brain-derived endothelium, while lung-derived cell-lines are being used to study adult respiratory distress syndrome, asthma, and other pulmonary illnesses. In addition to functional studies, the latest imaging technology is being used to visualise the diverse players involved in inflammation. Using these integrated approaches, the cellular, molecular and genetic features of microvascular biology will be explored.

Improved understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms will lead not only to significant advances in fundamental knowledge of biology, but also will identify new targets for the development of drugs intended to treat the many diseases caused by inflammatory processes.

Investigating the roles of extracellular vesicles (EV) in cancer

Primary supervisor: Georges Grau

Extracellular vesicles (EV) are membrane-enclosed vesicles that are released from almost all cell types. The importance of these vesicles lies in a unique characteristic, which allows them to transfer information to other cells and influence their function. Differences in the array of EV depend on their cellular origin, their biogenesis and mechanisms of their release. Recently, EV have been classified to 3 subcategories based mainly on size, namely, exosomes, microvesicles (MV) - previously called microparticles (MP) - and apoptotic bodies.

We previously have demonstrated that differences in the proteomic, lipidomic, and cholesterol content of exosomes derived from prostate cancer cell lines versus benign prostate cell lines confirm that exosomes could be excellent biomarker candidates. We also have confirmed that these vesicles significantly enhance multiple mechanisms that contribute to PCa progression. In this project we will focus on investigating the role of exosomes and microvesicles as potential cancer biomarker in patient samples.

This project is a great opportunity for a driven student who would like to tackle a very novel and fast growing area and learn techniques such as cell culture, EV isolation, flow cytometry, western blot analysis, mass spectrometry electron microscopy, and vibrational spectroscopy.

Discipline: Pathology
Co-supervisors: Elham Hosseini-Beheshti
Keywords: biomarker, Cancer Biology, Cell & Molecular Biology