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Health Sciences staff profiles

Aimee Chu

PositionPhD Candidate
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
Research summaryEffects of disease processes and neuroprotective treatments on exosome cargo in Alzheimer’s Disease
MembershipsEmerging Researcher’s Group (Brain Health Research Centre)


Exosomes, nano-sized vesicles secreted by all cells in the body, are postulated to play a role in spreading Alzheimer's Disease (AD) pathology throughout the brain. Exosomes are under intense investigation as potential biomarkers to allow early diagnosis of AD, due to the ease of isolating brain-derived vesicles from the bloodstream, and the finding that the contents of exosomes significantly differ between AD patients and healthy controls.

My research uses cell culture techniques to investigate how exosome cargo changes in response to application of amyloid-β, a key instigator of AD pathology, as well as how treatment with the neuroprotective proteins secreted Amyloid Precursor Protein alpha (sAPPα) and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) might beneficially alter exosome cargo. Importantly, this research will also investigate whether the 'disease-propogation' potential of exosomes extends to an ability to spread beneficial substances, such as sAPPα and BDNF, throughout the brain.


Chu, A. J., & Williams, J. M. (2022). Astrocytic microRNA in ageing, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease. Frontiers in Physiology, 12, 826697. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.826697