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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Study of intracellular biogenesis and tissue bio-distribution of exosomes for the development of new therapeutic agents

Lead Researcher:
Juan Manuel Falcón Pérez

Research Centre:
Centro de Investigación Cooperativa en Biociencias (CIC bioGUNE). Vizcaya.


Juan Manuel Falcón PérezExosomes are small vesicles that the majority of the cells in the organism secrete into the extra-cellular medium. In recent years different research has shown that these vesicles are involved in intercellular communication processes, and they have been linked to the development and progression of different diseases. These vesicles have also given rise to great expectations as the basis for the development of new therapeutic tools. In collaboration with Dr. Isabel Guerrero (CBMSO) and Dr. Niels Reichardt (CICbioMAGUNE) the aim of this project is to define exosome specificity and understand their mechanism of action in receptor cells, as well as to identify the proteins involved in their biogenesis. This project will include study of the tissue distribution of exosomes secreted by different cell types, as well as characterisation of the glycosylation pattern and alteration of the latter as a strategy to generate exosomes with specificity for a set tissue. Additionally, the effect of exosomes on target cells will be studied in this project, with the aim of identifying possible side effects of therapeutic agents developed using exosomes. This project will offer answers to questions relating to specificity, manipulation and side effects of the use of these vesicles; all of these are fundamental in the creation of safe and effective therapeutic tools based on exosomes.

Researcher's website:

Juan Manuel Falcón Pérez

Head of the exosome laboratory in the metabolomic unit of CIC bioGUNE, and head of the metabolomic platform of the centre. His training as a biochemist, molecular and cellular biologist has enabled him to research centring on the study of the molecular bases of different diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis, congenital erythropoietic porphyria and the Walker-Warburg and Hermansky-Pudlak syndromes. In recent years he has focused on the study of exosomes at molecular and functional levels, together with the application of metabolomics to different fields. His papers have been published in biochemistry and cellular biology journals such as Nature Communication, J. Cell Science, Molecular Biology of the Cell, J. Biological Chemistry, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., J. Proteomics, J. Proteome Research and PLoS Biology. Dr. Falcón-Pérez has been a member of the Ramón y Cajal program, and is currently Ikerbasque Research Professorin the CIC bioGUNE centre. He is also a founding member of the Sociedad Internacional de Vesículas Extracelulares (ISEV), of the Asociación Española para la Innovación e Investigación en Vesículas Extracelulares (GEIVEX)and the organising committee of the ME-HAD European network (Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease).

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