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Election of Next President & Riveting Plenary Address Highlight Day 2 of International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting (July 20-22)

Tuesday, July 21, witnessed the election of new ISEV President Clotilde Théry (photo) (, PhD, of the Institut Curie in Paris, and an electrifying scientific presentation on work involving exosomes, cardiology, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), as two of many highlights of an action-packed Day 2 of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting (July 20-22) ( This year’s ISEV meeting has successfully gone virtual with 1,600 virtual attendees from 52 countries around the world, and is offering ~600 presentations of various types (Plenary Addresses, “Hot-Topic” Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Education Sessions), both live-streamed and on-demand, to its large international group of participants. Tuesday’s activities included the meeting’s third Plenary Address, presentation of the third of four ISEV Featured Abstracts, the ISEV General Assembly meeting at which new ISEV President Clotilde Thery was elected and three ISEV Special Achievement Awards were presented, the holding of highly informative Education Sessions 3 & 4, and presentations of key current technology by ISEV 2020’s Gold Sponsors. The meeting’s third Plenary Address, “Deconstructing Regenerative Medicine: From Cells to Exosomes and Defined Factors,” was delivered by Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, Founding Director, Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. Dr. Marbán is an international leader in cardiology and a pioneering heart researcher. His 30-plus years of experience in patient care and research have led to key discoveries in gene and stem cell therapies for heart disease. Those discoveries have formed the basis for multiple startup companies. Dr. Marbán spent 26 years at Johns Hopkins and his leadership positions at Hopkins included Chief of Cardiology. In 2007, Dr. Marbán became Founding Director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, a multidisciplinary entity which brings together adult and pediatric cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, imaging specialists, and researchers to foster discovery and enhance patient care. The institute, which was renamed the Smidt Heart Institute in 2018, is built on a long tradition of excellence and innovation at Cedars-Sinai, including the invention of the Swan-Ganz catheter. The Smidt Heart Institute, ranked by US News and World Report as the top heart program in the western USA since 2013, performs more heart transplants annually than any other institution worldwide.

In Tuesday’s address, Dr. Marbán focused on describing his work to demonstrate the beneficial effects of exosomes released from cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) on heart and muscle function in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He also touched on further work to show that microRNA, and even Y-RNA, from such exosomes might be responsible, at least in part, for the observed beneficial effects.

He also commented on the wealth of research that has now been done in the area of exosomes and the improvement of cardiac/muscle function in disease, and he indicated that this body of work would provide solid scientific support for possible future advances into the clinic, hopefully in the not too distant future.

Dr. Marbán was introduced by Dolores Di Vizio, MD, PhD, ISEV Adjunct Board Member; Professor of Surgery, Biomedical Sciences, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and his stimulating address was followed by a lively Q&A session co-moderated by Dr. Di Vizio and Susmita Sahoo, PhD, ISEV Executive Chair for Communications, Associate Professor of Medicine & Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City.


Next on the day’s agenda was presentation of the third of four ISEV Featured Abstracts by young investigators. Elena Grueso Navarro, a Marie Curie Fellow at the Institute for Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, Breisgau, Germany, presented her group’s abstract (FA02) “Nuclear Proteins Are Recruited into Tumor-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Upon Expression of Tetraspanin Tspan8.” Ms. Navarro is a PhD candidate in the laboratory of Irina Nazarenko, PhD, Head, Exosomes & Tumor Group, Institute for Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology, Medical Center-University of Freiburg. In addition to having her work selected as one of ISEV 2020's four Featured Abstracts, Ms. Navarro is a proud ISEV 2020 Scholarship Awardee. In a further great honor, announced at the ISEV closing ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Navarro's work was selected as one of ISEV 2020's Outstanding Contributions to the Advance of Basic Science. Ms. Navarro’s presentation was introduced by Dr. Sahoo and was followed by a Q&A session co-moderated by Dr. Sahoo and Dr. Di Vizio.


The ISEV’s annual General Assembly meeting for 2020 was convened by outgoing ISEV President Andy Hill, PhD, Professor & Director, La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, who has served as ISEV President for four years. Dr. Hill noted that a chief purpose of the General Assembly is to submit the 2020-2022 ISEV Board Renewal to ISEV members for approval. But, before that, came reports from current Board Members. Dr. Hill first introduced ISEV Secretary General Marca Wauban, PhD, Professor of Intercellular Communication, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Dr. Wauben described the current ISEV Board of Directors and outlined the in-person and teleconference meetings the Board had held in 2019/2020 and indicated what the major points of discussion had been. Dr. Wauben also noted that ISEV had welcomed two additional staff members, Kristen Burke (Associate Executive Director) and Samantha Adams (Program Manager).


Next, ISEV Treasurer Uta Erdbruegger, MD, Associate Professor, Nephrology, University of Virginia, presented the financial report for 2019. Dr. Erdbruegger articulated the overall financial goals and principals of the ISEV and presented the financial summary for calendar year 2019, including mention that ISEV had ended 2019 with nearly $500,000 in cash and almost $600,000 in investments for total assets of over $1.2 million. She ended with a slide showing annual conference costs and attendance for the annual meetings from 2014-2019. Attendance has gone up every year, and this year’s current virtual attendance of 1,600 significantly exceeds last year’s then record of 1,200 attendees.


This financial discussion was followed by a report from ISEV Executive Chair of Science and Meetings Ken Witwer, PhD, Associate Professor, Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, Johns Hopkins. Dr. Witwer described ISEV-organized events from May 2019-July 2020, which included a Joint Meeting on EVs and Cancer held at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, an ISEV Workshop on Open, Reproducible, and Standardized EV Research, held in Ghent, Belgium, and an ISEV Workshop on EVs in Immunology and an Education Day held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Witwer also highlighted selected events that ISEV had sponsored or participated in from May 2019-April 2020. These included the Annual Meeting of the French Society for EVs in Nantes, the EVita Symposium in Palermo, Italy, and the Annual Meeting of the Netherlands Society for EVs in Utrecht.

Dr. Witwer further noted significant ISEV products in terms of journal articles and upcoming ISEV events scheduled for 2020-2022 (including the ISEV 2021 Annual Meeting in Lyons, France).


Next came the report from ISEV Executive Chair for Education Edit Buzás, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics, Cell- and Immunobiology at Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. Dr. Buzáz highlighted the very successful Education Day, held in conjunction with the ISEV Workshop “EVs in Immunology,” in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March of this year and also noted the extensive education offerings at the current virtual annual meeting, which is featuring six different Education Session on a wide range of key EV topics.

Dr. Buzás also noted the great success of ISEV’s online learning efforts. She noted that this effort was initiated by Cecilia Lässer, PhD, Researcher, Krefting Research Centre, University of Gothenburg (Sweden), who launched ISEV’s Massive Open Online Course I (MOOC I) on the “Basics of Extracellular Vesicles” in 2016, and this online course has registered almost 60,000 unique visitors to date.

MOOC II on “Extracellular Vesicles in Health and Disease” was coordinated by Carolina Soekmadji, PhD Senior Research Officer, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland, Australia, and was launched in 2019. It has had 6,500 unique visitors to date.
Dr. Buzás closed by noting that an Online Learning Management System was launched in March 2020 on the ISEV web site.


The Education Report was followed by the Communications Report from Executive Chair Susmita Sahoo. Dr. Sahoo first noted the consistently increasing ISEV membership that now numbers almost 1,400 members from around the globe. She also presented the current breakdown of the membership by country and noted two new membership opportunities—a “community membership” for those who wish to engage with ISEV in an online format only, and the eligibility of those who live in a World Bank-identified low-income country for a 50% membership discount upon approval of an emailed application.

Dr. Sahoo noted benefits of ISEV membership, including immediate information on ISEV activities and reduced fees for ISEV events and for publications in the ISEV’s Journal of Extracellular Vesicles (JEV), and she also highlighted new Communications efforts. Among these are an ISEV eNewsletter, monthly JEV email updates, ongoing surveys and benchmarking efforts, a global EV-network, and an ISEV blog post.

Dr. Sahoo closed by mentioning the creation of three new scholarship categories that were included for the first time in awarding scholarships to this year’s meeting. These new categories are the New Parent Scholarship (for parents with children up to 8 years of age), a Travel Scholarship (for investigators from World Bank low-income countries), and a Scholarship for Student Hardship (for students who have faced exceptional hardship in their careers to achieve their goals).


A report on the ISEV’s JEV was delivered by Editor-in-Chief Jan Lötvall, MD, PhD, Professor/Chief Physician (Asthma, Allergy, Inflammation, Eosinophils), University of Gothenberg, Sweden, and the original President of the ISEV. Dr. Lötvall first noted the impressive year-over-year steady increase in submissions to the JEV. This number of publications has also increased significantly. He also commented on the relatively short time that to final decision on a submission. He said that the editorial strategy for the JEV is to be a platform for communicating novel EV research and maintaining the highest quality. Dr. Lötvall emphasized the JEV’s determined focus on high quality while noting that impact factor is not a priority.


Next to the floor came Dr. Hill, with the ISEV President’s Report. Dr. Hill focused on accomplishments in the last two years and noted that this recent period has witnessed continued growth of the Society. This is reflected by an increase in workshops and membership, in outreach to under-represented regions, growth in educational resources, including the recent launch of MOOC II, and the development of many national EV societies and related organizations.

Dr. Hill further noted the impressive continued growth of the JEV and remarked that the ISEV’s good financial base now allows the ISEV to develop strategically and on a longer time-frame. He closed with myriad thank-you’s to the broad range of ISEV leaders, members, industry sponsors, and the Talley Management Group.


Dr. Hill then asked Alissa Weaver, MD, PhD, , ISEV Co-Chair, International Organizing Committee (IOC); Professor & Chair, Cell & Developmental Biology; Professor, Pathology, Microbiology, & Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, USA, to call for a member vote on the renewal of the ISEV Board, for which a new slate of members was proposed. Dr. Weaver announced the new slate for 2020-2022, which included Clotilde Théry, PhD, Professor and INSERM Director of Research at the Institut Curie in Paris as the nominated new ISEV President. Others on the newly proposed Board slate included Past President Andy Hill, Secretary General Edit Buzás, Treasurer Uta Erbruegger, Executive Chair Communications Susmita Sahoo, Executive Chair Education, and Executive Chair Science & Meetings Ken Witwer. In addition, nine Members at Large were included in the proposed new slate.

Dr. Weaver called for the members to submit their votes on the proposed new slate and, as the votes were tallied, Dr Hill responded to a few questions that had been asked electronically during the session by some of the virtual attendees.

Then the results were in, and Dr. Hill announced that the new slate had been approved by an overwhelming 93.3% of the votes.


Next, Dr. Wauben introduced the General Assembly segment on the 2020 ISEV Special Achievement Awards. This year two ISEV Special Achievement Awards for Outstanding Contributions to EV Research and Extraordinary Service to ISEV were presented.


The first went to outgoing President Andy Hill who was lauded by Dr. Wauben.

In her wonderful comments, Dr. Wauben said that Dr. Hill had first served on the ISEV Board in 2012 when he was Communications Chair. With his incredibly hard work and exceptional friendliness, Dr. Hill rose rapidly, and, in 2016, he became the ISEV’s second President, succeeding the legendary Dr. Jan Lötvall.

Dr. Wauben noted that Dr. Hill was a “real bridge builder” who dedicated many hours beyond office time to moving the ISEV ever forward. He also traveled enormous distances from his home base in Australia to further advance ISEV efforts around the world.

Dr. Wauben added that Dr. Hill is, of course, also a highly accomplished scientist who has done major research on the roles of EVs in neurodegenerative disease, in inflammation, and in prion diseases. He has also done significant work in efforts to further the development of potential clinical applications of EVs.


Quite appropriately, the second 2020 ISEV Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to EV Research and Extraordinary Service to ISEV went to Dr. Wauben herself.

Ken Witwer then spoke up to announce the presentation of lifetime ISEV memberships to Andy Hill and Marca Wauben in additional recognition of, and gratitude for, their awesome contributions to ISEV over many years. Ken then also showed an image of the beautiful glass awards that would eventually be given, really rather than virtually, to the awardees. With a tacit nod to EV researcher Michael Graner, who had earlier coined the term “sexosome” for certain neurological exosomes he was studying, Ken suggested that these beautiful glass objects should be called “Awardosomes” going forward.


Next came the announcement of this year’s third ISEV Special Achievement Award, which is given in recognition of “Outstanding Contributions to Drive Education.” This award was presented to Edit Buzás, MD, PhD, ISEV’s outgoing Executive Chair for Education and incoming Secretary General.

Ken Witwer gave an eloquent and heartfelt description of Dr. Buzas and her incredible contributions to ISEV over many years. His beautiful comments are eminently worthy of quoting in full here, in true honor of a great woman scientist, a great teacher, and a great human being.

“Dr. Edit Buzás is Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics, Cell- and Immunobiology at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. Many of you know her as a prominent leader and frequently cited scientist in the fields of EVs and immunology. Her EV research began over 15 years ago. Among many other accomplishments, she has furthered our understanding of EV subtypes, EVs in cardiology, and the roles that EVs play in the complex menagerie of blood, interacting with lipoproteins and protein complexes.”

“In 2011, she and her group published a highly influential review article on extracellular vesicles, emphasizing the diversity of EVs and endorsing "extracellular vesicle" as a collective term to encompass this diversity. Edit is not only respected scientifically, but also beloved by her colleagues and mentees alike. She has been a prolific mentor to numerous scientists who have gone on to successful careers.”

“With ISEV, Edit chaired the second ISEV Workshop (on isolation and characterization) in Budapest as well as the 2016 ISEV annual meeting in Rotterdam. She served two terms as Executive Chair of Education, where she supervised the ISEV Education Days at the annual meetings and several workshops. Carrying on the work of previous Chair Yong Song Gho, two massive online open courses (MOOCs) were released, and another is now in planning, while a 3D animation, posters, and other learning tools were developed. Now, as you know, she has been elected as our next Secretary General.”

“I first met Dr. Buzás at the very first Workshop of ISEV, held in New York City in 2012. When Fred Hochberg asked if she and I would help with writing a position paper based on the Workshop, a whirlwind writing adventure began. By the time Edit landed in Europe and I got home by train to Baltimore, we already had a decent draft of a paper that would eventually turn into ISEV's first position paper. This experience shows the energy with which Edit applies her scientific knowledge and attention to detail to improve the field.”

“I would like to leave you with some wise words from Dr. Buzás herself from an online interview, where she advised those beginning EV studies to ‘be really open-minded.’"

“She further said, ‘don’t limit your imagination if you have a brave idea. In this novel field, you have a chance to find something really prominent.’”

“Edit should know, as someone who has made, and continues to make, ‘really prominent’ contributions. It is my deep honor to announce the ISEV 2020 Special Achievement Award to Dr. Edit Buzás.”


Dr. Witwer then announced the ISEV Special Education Award going to Carolina Soekmadji, PhD, Senior Research Officer, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland, Australia. Dr. Soekmadji is the ISEV Education Committee Coordinator for ISEV MOOC II (“Extracellular Vesicles in Health and Disease”).


The camera turned briefly back to Andy Hill who said he was left almost speechless after the kind comments by Marca Wauben, but he was able to briefly, and characteristically, say, “I’m stoked.” Then he turned the floor over to incoming ISEV President Clotilde Thery for a brief description of her vision for ISEV going forward.


Dr. Théry said she anticipated that a number of changes would be necessitated by the expansion of ISEV membership. She is encouraged by the increasing number of national EV societies and she believes that work on building the global EV network will be key to the future. She noted that a MOOC III is in the pipeline and then she thanked everyone deeply for their kind support. She closed by saying that she very much looked forward to working with everyone in the Society.

With that, the ISEV General Assembly 2020 closed.


Shortly after the General Assembly, came Education Sessions 3 and 4.

Education Session 3 (“High-Throughput Single EV Analysis”) was briefly introduced by Suresh Mathivanan, PhD, Director of the Research Center for Extracellular Vesicles (RCEV), LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

The first presentation was titled “Size and Concentration Determination of Extracellular Vesicles with Flow Cytometry, Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, and Resistive Pulse Sensing” and was delivered by Edwin van der Pol, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Physics, and the Laboratory of Experimental Clinical Chemistry, Amsterdam University Medical Center, The Netherlands.

The second presentation was titled “Flow Cytometry As a Tool for EV Characterization: Potential or Pitfall?” and was delivered by Joanne Lannigan, PhD; CEO, Flow Cytometry Support Services, LLC; and former Director of the Flow Cytometry Core, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

The third presentation was titled “Capture Technology,” and was delivered by Maria del Mar Vales-Gomez, PhD, Department of Immunology & Oncology, Centro Nacional de Biotechnologia (CNB), Madrid, Spain.

The fourth presentation was titled “Multiple In-Situ Protein and RNA Analysis of Single Extracellular Vesicles” and was delivered by Eduardo Reategui, PhD, Assistant Professor, Group Leader, Bioengineering Research, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

A lively 15-minute Q&A session on these four presentations was moderated by Dr. Mathivanan.


Education Session 4 on “EV Content Analysis (-omic Technologies)” was briefly introduced by Louise Laurent, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; Vice Chair for Translational Research; Director of Perinatal Research for the UC-San Diego Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; and a member of the UCSD Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee, UCSD, USA.

The first presentation was titled “Lipidomics” and was delivered by Johann Swinnen, PhD, Professor & Chair, Department of Oncology; Head, Laboratory of Lipid Metabolism and Cancer, KU (Katholieke Universiteit) Leuven, Belgium.

The second presentation was titled “Proteomics and Bioinformatics Analysis of Protein Content” and was delivered by Suresh Mathivanan, PhD, Director of the Research Center for Extracellular Vesicles (RCEV), LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

The third presentation was titled “EV Nucleic Acid Content” and was delivered by Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, PhD, Deputy Director of Research Resources and Professor, The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) (Phoenix, Arizona), an Affiliate of City of Hope, California, USA.

The fourth presentation was titled “Bioinformatic Analysis of EV RNA Data” and was delivered by Joel Rozowsky, PhD, Research Scientist in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

A 15-minute Q&A session on these four presentations was moderated by Dr. Laurent.

ISEV 2020 Gold Sponsor Presentations

In the course of the meeting Tuesday, there were 10-minute presentations from ISEV 2020’s Gold Sponsors: Beckman Coulter (, Luminex (, Malvern Panalytical (, Myriade (, and Streck (