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2023 Allen Distinguished Investigator award

The Allen Distinguished Investigator program provides three-year grants between $1M and $1.5M to individuals and teams

Composition and functionality of the EV corona: learning from lipoproteins

In this project, researchers will investigate a recently recognized feature of extracellular vesicles (EVs) known as the “EV corona,” a layer of molecules that may imbue EVs with specialized properties. Researchers will use advanced analytical methods to detect and identify the molecules of the EV corona and map them with unprecedented detail. Additionally, they will bioengineer EVs by linking their surfaces directly to specific proteins of the corona to disguise the EVs from the body’s immune system. Doing so is important because EVs can be used to diagnose and treat diseases; however, exogenous EVs may be attacked by the immune system before their therapeutic benefits can be exerted. Allowing them to remain in the body longer could lead to better therapiesaand treatments for disease.

Headshot of Kenneth Witwer

Kenneth Witwer Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Angela M. Zivkovic (she/her), Ph.D., University of California, Davis Headshot

Angela M. Zivkovic, Ph.D.

University of California, Davis
Headshot of Wyatt Vreeland

Wyatt N. Vreeland, Ph.D.,

National Institute of Standards and Technology

This project is part of the 2023 Extracellular Vesicles cohort

Extracellular vesicles hold huge promise as a means of therapeutic delivery; however, their diversity and a lack of understanding of their basic biology are hindering progress. This cohort seeks to elucidate fundamental principles of the biology of extracellular vesicles in a variety of contexts, including the development of technologies to better visualize and track them in living organisms.