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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

Extracellular vesicles in maintenance of neuronal circuitry

In this project, researchers will examine the role extracellular vesicles (EVs) play in helping neurons maintain their shape. Failure to maintain neuronal shape can lead to impaired brain function or neurodegeneration. Changes in the function of proteins that regulate EV release can restore healthy neuron shape in animals, suggesting regulation of EVs maintains neuronal shape. Moreover, researchers have found that such EV regulators affect the shape of other cell types such as skin or germ cells. This project will take a multidisciplinary approach including microscopy, protein design, and genetics to learn how these factors affect cellular shape in worms and mammals and develop novel probes for EV-related lipids. The results may reveal how EVs contribute to neuronal resilience, with implications for brain health.

Andrew Chisholm headshot

Andrew Chisholm, Ph.D.,

University of California, San Diego
Headshot of Ann Wehman

Ann Wehman, Ph.D.,

University of Denver

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.

Science Programs at Allen Institute