Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid enclosed packages of cellular components released from most, if not all, active cell types. Organisms that produce EVs range from bacteria, plants to higher primates and humans. EVs have been shown to be involved in cellular communication, to interact with the host immune system and are also potential bio-markers for a wide range of diseases. Extensive research has been carried out in the field of EVs and it is still a rapidly emerging, cross-disciplinary field. In order to facilitate efficient research among multiple groups involved in EV research by avoiding “reinvention of the wheel” by each group separately, the University of Auckland has founded the Hub for Extracellular Vesicle Investigations (HEVI).
The main aim of the HEVI is to support researchers interested in EV research from any background and to provide a platform for sharing EV related knowledge across different departments both within the University of Auckland and externally. The HEVI will standardise methodologies used in EV research and support the design of experiments for researchers venturing into the field of EV research. It will provide local training of researchers, centralised optimisation of novel techniques and will provide funding for travel to acquire advanced training on EV related methods and to attend EV relevant conferences/meetings/workshops. The HEVI will facilitate the formation of collaborations between the University of Auckland and other expert groups in the field, the cumulative output of which will contribute to EV research on a global level. Together the HEVI aims to promote, support and standardise EV research in New Zealand with direct relevance to local industry, flora and fauna and health issues.