Bioinspired extracellular vesicles: Lessons learned from nature for biomedicine and bioengineering

Assaf Zinger, Ava Brozovich, Anna Pasto, Manuela Sushnitha, Jonathan O. Martinez, Michael Evangelopoulos, Christian Boada, Ennio Tasciotti, Francesca Taraballi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Efficient communication is essential in all layers of the biological chain. Cells exchange information using a variety of signaling moieties, such as small molecules, proteins, and nucleic acids. Cells carefully package these messages into lipid complexes, collectively named extracellular vesicles (EVs). In this work, we discuss the nature of these cell carriers, categorize them by their origin, explore their role in the homeostasis of healthy tissues, and examine how they regulate the pathophysiology of several diseases. This review will also address the limitations of using EVs for clinical applications and discuss novel methods to engineer nanoparticles to mimic the structure, function, and features of EVs. Using lessons learned from nature and understanding how cells use EVs to communicate across distant sites, we can develop a better understanding of how to tailor the fundamental features of drug delivery carriers to encapsulate various cargos and target specific sites for biomedicine and bioengineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2172
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 30 2020


  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedicine
  • Biomimicry
  • Cell communication
  • Drug delivery
  • Extracellular vesicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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