I first became aware of extracellular vesicles (EVs) whilst completing my final year undergraduate research project in Prof. Martyn Mahaut-Smith’s laboratory at the University of Leicester in 2013. I began my PhD in September 2013, in the microvesicle research group at the University of Southampton with supervisors Dr Nicola Englyst, Dr Judith Holloway, Dr David Smith, and Prof. James Wilkinson.
During my PhD, I would go on to investigate the detection of EVs using conventional flow cytometry, before starting a collaboration with industry to develop and use a high-sensitivity flow cytometer. With the guidance of Dr Peter Horak and Prof. James Wilkinson, this work led me to develop ways of understanding EV light scattering physics. I would then develop a piece of flow cytometer modelling software to predict the collected light scatter of EVs. These particle scatter physics models would then be implemented in our lab as standardisation tools for projects investigating the use of EVs as biomarkers in a variety conditions including: stroke, cardiac bypass surgery, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and the development of allergy.
In June 2017, I began my postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in Dr Jennifer Jones’ lab. In this position I am helping to develop a scalable clinical pipeline that will enable the use of EVs as clinical biomarkers for personalised cancer treatments. This research includes exploring novel ways to label, detect, and purify EVs, and utilises a variety of techniques such as high-sensitivity nanoparticle sorting, single-fluorophore detection flow cytometry, multiplex analysis, sequencing, proteomics, and multi-dimensional data analysis techniques.