1st EVIta Symposium 2019 - Invited Speakers

6-8 November 2019

Palermo, Italy

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Dr. Dolores Di Vizio is a Professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has a background in cancer pathology and molecular and cell biology. More recently, her expertise has been extended to Extracellular Biology. She is an Executive Board Member of the International Society of Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV). Her group studies the molecular mechanisms of progression to advanced disease in human tumors, with a particular emphasis on large oncosomes, extracellular vesicles (EVs) shed into the extracellular space from fast migrating and metastatic amoeboid cancer cells. Her lab is currently profiling the large oncosomes and other EV populations by NGS and proteomics for functional and molecular characterization.


Peter Nejsum received the B.S. degree in Science (Biology) at University of Aarhus, Denmark and PhD in (Molecular Parasitology)at the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is currently Full Professor (MSO), at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Health, Aarhus University, Denmark. Prof. Nejsum has been president of the Danish society for Parasitology since 2014, and was the recipient of Young Scientist Award', Scandinavian-Baltic Society for Parasitology, Vilnius, Lithuania in 2005 and 'Young Scientist Award', Spring Symposium, Danish Society for Parasitology, Denmark in 2003. Peter Nejsum group investigates the role of extracelluar vesicles (exosomes) in host-parasite interactions and the immunomodulatory properties of parasitic worms (helminths). Nejsum group aims to use parasites, or their derived products, as vaccines or as novel ‘drugs’ for inflammatory and allergic conditions in the future. The group has still research interest within parasite genetics and genomics. He received many grants for research projects as up to 3.500.000 euros in addition to PhD faculty positions.


Stefano Pluchino is a University Reader in Regenerative Neuroimmunology and Honorary Consultant in Neurology, within the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge (UK). He is also past Principal Investigator at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Stem Cell Institute (2010-2017) and European Research Council (ERC) Starting Independent Researcher (2010).

Stefano Pluchino has a strong interest in regenerative neuroimmunology. His research over the last 15 years has recalibrated the classical view that cellular grafts only function through structural cell replacement and opened up a new therapeutic avenue by which to use exogenously delivered stem cells, or even stem cell-derived acellular therapies that include extracellular vesicles and exosomes.

His team studies whether the accumulation of neurological disability observed in patients with chronic inflammatory neurological conditions can be slowed down using next generation molecular therapies. The overarching aim is to understand the basic mechanisms that allow exogenously delivered stem cells, gene therapy vectors and/or exosomes to create an environment that preserves damaged axons or prevents neurons from dying. By understanding the mechanisms of intercellular (stem cell) signalling, diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) may be treated more effectively, and significant neuroprotection may be achieved with new tailored molecular therapeutics.


M. Selim Ünlü received the B.S. degree from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1986, and the M.S.E.E. (1988) and Ph.D. (1992) degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, all in electrical engineering. Since 1992, he has been a professor at Boston University. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Engineering appointed in electrical and computer engineering, biomedical engineering, physics, and graduate medical sciences. He has also served as the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in engineering. His research interests are in the areas of nanophotonics and biophotonics focusing on high-resolution solid immersion lens microscopy of integrated circuits and development of biological detection and imaging techniques, particularly in high-throughput digital biosensors based on detection of individual molecules and single biological nanoparticles such as viruses and exosomes.

Dr. Ünlü was the recipient of the NSF CAREER and ONR Young Investigator Awards in 1996. He has been selected as a Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer for 2005-2007 and Australian Research Council Nanotechnology Network (ARCNN) Distinguished Lecturer for 2007. He has been elevated to IEEE Fellow rank in 2007 for his “contributions to optoelectronic devices” and OSA Fellow rank in 2017 for his “for pioneering contributions in utilization of optical interference in enhanced photodetectors and biological sensing and imaging.” In 2008, he was awarded the Science Award by the Turkish Scientific Foundation. His professional service includes serving as the chair of the Annual Meeting for IEEE Photonics Society and Editor-in-Chief for IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics.


Kenneth Witwer is an associate professor of molecular and comparative pathobiology and neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His group studies extracellular vesicles as biomarkers and mediators of central nervous system diseases, including those associated with HIV infection. Other projects in the Witwer lab examine the effects of cigarette smoke on inflammatory responses and the potential of EVs as agents of HIV cure. Dr. Witwer serves as Executive Chair of Science and Meetings for the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles, is associate editor for the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, and has recently joined the US National Institutes of Health Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium, Stage 2.

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