Exosome research pushing the boundaries

Early career researchers at the University of Manitoba are among the inaugural recipients of $986,250 in funding from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) announced on May 13, 2019, by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The NFRF program launched in 2018 provides funding that supports high-risk, high-reward and interdisciplinary research to help Canadian researchers make the next great discoveries in their fields.

“Traditional parameters are limiting as Canada strives for new discoveries and innovation,” said Ted Hewitt, chair, Canada Research Coordinating Committee and President of SSHRC. “As society evolves, so must our means of doing research. The New Frontiers in Research Fund is supporting leading-edge research and promoting ideas that would have traditionally been unsupported. Through this program, we are truly paving the way for our emerging researchers to expand their horizons, take risks and deliver outcomes that will benefit Canadians.”

The U of M research projects will investigate ways to reverse frailty, allay anxiety using virtual reality, find new antibiotics, and assess the safety of northern infrastructure in the context of climate change. All projects will receive up to $250,000 in funding over two years.

“I congratulate these  early career researchers and their collaborators on their success in this inaugural national competition,” said Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) and Distinguished Professor at the U of M. “They are each pushing the boundaries of existing knowledge and methods as they seek innovative ways to solve problems that affect every member of society.”


Ayesha Saleem


Meaghan Jones


Principle investigators (PI):Meaghan Jones, biochemistry and medical genetics, Max Rady College of Medicine; and Ayesha Saleem, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management
Project: “Reversing frailty through transmission of epigenetic age by extracellular vesicles.”

The aging population in Canada and around the world requires the development of therapeutic strategies aimed at improving health span (the length of time a person is healthy) to keep pace with the increase in lifespan. In theory, effective anti-aging therapeutics must be capable of altering innate cellular hallmarks of aging such as changes in metabolism and epigenetics. Previous research has shown that transfusing old animals with blood from young animals reverses some aspects of aging, leading to the hypothesis of “youthful” factors in young blood. We propose that these factors are packaged in a type of secretory vehicle called extracellular vesicles (EVs), and that treating old cells with EVs isolated from younger people would reverse physiological markers of aging such as the epigenetic clock and impaired metabolism.

Source – University of Manitoba

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