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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

Real-time label-free dynamic imaging of extracellular vesicles in live tissues

Researchers Marni and Stephen Boppart will use next-generation, multimodal, nonlinear optical microscopy techniques to obtain real-time, dynamic images of EVs in living tissues and use this advanced platform to identify the role EVs play in human aging. Recent studies suggest that aged cells secrete EVs carrying materials that promote aging throughout the body. However, no tools currently exist to effectively study EVs in the natural tissue microenvironment. This project will not only yield a powerful microscopy platform that will provide the first visualization of EV dynamics within a complex living tissue microenvironment, but will also provide new insight regarding fundamental EV biology in the context of multiple conditions, including aging and disease.

Marni Boppart Headshot

Marni D. Boppart, Sc.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Stephen Boppart headshot

Stephen A. Boppart, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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