The Exosome Biology Lab, led by Dr Carlos Salomon, focuses on research regarding exosomes – small secretions from a wide range of cells, including placental and cancer cells. The lab has been studying exosomes and their role within the production of new living organisms, such as pregnancy and cancer. 

The past decade has observed an extraordinary explosion of research in the field of exosomes. As the content of exosomes is cell-type specific, it is believed that it is a 'fingerprint' of the cell and its metabolic status.

The lab explores the idea that the exosomes and their specific exosomal content (e.g. miRNAs and proteins) represent a precious biomedical tool, and may be used as biomarkers for the diagnosis and prognosis of a wide range of diseases including complication of pregnancies and malignant tumors. 

Exosomes may engage in paracellular interactions (local cell-to-cell communication between the cells) and/or distal interactions (involving the release of exosomes into biological fluids and transported to a remote site of action). The mechanisms involved in these phenomenon remain unclear, but the aim of the Exosome Biology Laboratory, is to analyse the role of exosomes in the production of placental cells and tumor cells.


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  • 2016. Diabetes Australia. Determining the cellular mechanisms of insulin resistance in obese women who develop gestational diabetes: Placenta-derived exosome, a possible biomarker for the early detection of gestational diabetes. 
  • 2017. Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation. Profiling of Placental Physiologic Signature During Pregnancy in Maternal Liquid Biopsies. 
  • 2016-2017. UQ-Ochsner Seed Fund. Placenta-derived exosomes, a possible biomarker for early detection of preeclampsia. 
  • 2016-2017. UQ-Ochsner Seed Fund for Collaborative Research, Ochsner Medical Center and University of Queensland. ‘MicroRNA and proteomic signatures of tumour-derived exosomes as early diagnostic tool of ovarian cancer progression’. 
  • 2015-2016. Exosomes as potential biomarkers for pancreatic cyst risk stratification for Pancreatic cancer. Funding source: 2015 Academic Title Holder Research Fund Scheme. 
  • 2015-2018. Tumor-derived exosomes and ovarian cancer. Funding source: generic donation. 
  • 2016-2019. NHMRC development grant (APP1114013). In vitro diagnostic for first trimester risk assignment of gestational diabetes. 
  • 2016 M+BS Emerging Leaders Medical Research Grant, titled Identification of exosomal miRNA targets involved in drug resistance in ovarian cancer. 
  • 2016 Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners (BDHP) Strategic Initiative Grant Scheme. The Queensland Gynaecological Cancer Initiative. 
  • 2016 UQ FirstLink Scheme. Large scale production and purification of placental exosomes with clinical Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-grade for biomarker applications. 

Dr Carlos Saloman Gallo talks about a new way to potentially monitor cancer tumours in patients with early stage ovarian cancer without needing to take a biopsy.