Pioneering next-generation extracellular vesicle therapeutics for healthcare

Owen has generated some of the very first publications on skeletal extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their application in regenerative medicine. His research group is now pioneering EV-based solutions to combat real world healthcare problems such as tissue repair / regeneration and targeted drug delivery.

Read more about Dr Owen Davies

Owen graduated with an MRes in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine from the University of Manchester. He subsequently completed a PhD at the University of Birmingham that sought to compare the efficacy of stem cells isolated from adipose, bone marrow and dental pulp for the regeneration of mineralised tissues.

In 2016 Owen was awarded a competitive EPSRC E-TERM fellowship in collaboration with the University of Birmingham where he worked as an honorary visiting fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering with Professor Liam Grover. During his fellowship he pioneered the application of cell-derived nanoparticles, termed extracellular vesicles (EVs), for musculoskeletal therapies.

In April 2018 Owen was appointed as a lecturer in Molecular and Regenerative Biomedicine under the Loughborough Excellence 100 scheme. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2021.

Pioneering next-generation extracellular vesicle therapeutics

Dr Owen Davies talks about his research

Owen’s research focuses on defining the cellular and molecular events underlying musculoskeletal development and regeneration. He is particularly interested in stem cell biology and the contribution of nano-sized particles termed extracellular vesicles (EVs). By delineating these complex physiological processes, he aims to devise innovative new approaches to enhance and monitor tissue regeneration for the treatment of a range of musculoskeletal (e.g. fractures, spinal fusions) and soft tissue (e.g. aesthetic medicine, scarring) applications.

Current research:

  • Defining the role of extracellular vesicles in tissue formation, regeneration and homeostasis
  • The development of novel extracellular vesicle therapeutics for tissue regeneration and targeted drug delivery
  • The application of cellular and acellular approached for musculoskeletal tissue engineering
  • Stem cell biology and differentiation

Funding:

  • RESTORE: engineering an enhanced vesicle system for coordinated fracture repair. EPSRC, 2021 (PI), £323,285
  • Extracellular vesicles for soft tissue regeneration. Private funding, 2021 (PI), £54,309
  • Combining orthobiologics, antimicrobial and angiogenic properties for rapid treatment of bone repair in deployed settings. EPSRC RiHN, 2021 (Co-I, with University of Nottingham), £47,806
  • Deciphering molecular crosstalk in the musculoskeletal system: vesicle-mediated communication and its impact on bone health. Academy of Medical Sciences, 2019 (PI), £99,922
  • Assessing the threat of extracellular vesicles for the targeted and concealed delivery of prohibited substances. Partnership for Clean Competition, 2020 (PI), $74,478
  • Pro-osteogenic vesicles for bone regeneration. MRC Confidence in Concept, 2018 (Joint-PI), £70,000
  • Developing extracellular vesicle therapies for bone regeneration. EPSRC E-TERM Postdoctoral Fellowship, (PI) £250,000
  • Associate editor for the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles (JEV)
  • International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) Task Force on Regulatory Affairs and Clinical use of EV-Based Therapeutics
  • Committee member for the UK Society of Extracellular Vesicles (UKEV)
  • Visiting Fellow at the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham
  • University Lead for the Mercia Stem Cell Alliance
  • Member of the UKRI Early Career Forum
  • Postgraduate Certification in Education (University of Nottingham, 2008)
  • Member of the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES) and the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)

Featured publications

  • Man K, Brunet MY, Fernandez-Rhodes M, Williams S, Heaney LM, Gethings LA, Federici A, Davies OG, Hoey D, Cox SC. (2021). Epigenetic reprogramming enhances the therapeutic efficacy of osteoblast-derived extracellular vesicles to promote human bone marrow stem cell osteogenic differentiation. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, 10 (9): e12118.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2021). Spectroscopic profiling of variations in extracellular vesicle biochemistry in a model of myogenesis. Journal of Tissue Engineering, DOI: 10.1177/20417314211022092.
  • Rankin-Turner S, Vader P, O’Driscoll L, Giebel B, Heaney LM, Davies OG. (2021). A call for the standardised reporting of factors affecting the exogenous loading of extracellular vesicles with therapeutic cargos. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 173: 479-491.
  • Fleming JW, Capel AJ, Rimington RP, Wheeler P, Leonard AN, Bishop NC, Davies OG, Lewis MP. (2020). Bioengineered human skeletal muscle capable of functional regeneration. BMC Biology, 18: 145.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2019). Osteoblast-derived vesicle protein content is temporally regulated during osteogenesis: implications for regenerative therapies. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 7: 92.
  • Nikravesh N, Davies OG, et al. (2019). Physical structuring of injectable polymeric systems to controllably deliver nanosized extracellular vesicles. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 8 (9): 1801604.
  • Casson J, Davies OG, et al. (2018). Mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles may promote breast cancer dormancy. Journal of Tissue Engineering, 9: 1-7.
  • Azoidis I, Cox SC, Davies OG. (2018). The role of extracellular vesicles in biomineralisation: current perspective and application in regenerative medicine. Journal of Tissue Engineering, 9: 1-11.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2017). Annexin-enriched osteoblast-derived vesicles act as an extracellular site of mineral nucleation within developing stem cell cultures. Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-13027-6.
  • Davies OG & Rafiq Q. (2017). Considerations for the bioprocessing, manufacture and translation of extracellular vesicles for therapeutic applications. Cell Gene Therapy Insights. Cell & Gene Therapy Insights, 3(6): 683-694.
  • Hughes E, Davies OG, et al. (2017). Interfacial Mineral fusion and tubule entanglement as a means to harden a bone augmentation material. Advanced Healthcare Materials. Accepted 20/11/2017.
  • Davies  OG, et al. (2016). Defining the balance   between repair and pathological ossification in skeletal muscle. Frontiers Physiology. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00194.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2016). PDGF is a potent initiator of bone formation in a tissue engineered model of pathological ossification. Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. doi: 10.1002/term.2320.
  • Davies  OG, et al. (2015). Identifying the cellular and molecular  mechanisms  leading  to heterotopic ossification. Calcified Tissue International, 97: 432-44.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2015). Modulation of ectopic ossification in tissue engineered  skeletal  muscle  by  an inflammatory  environment.  Frontiers  in  Endocrinology:  Bone  Research. doi: 10.3389/978-2-88919-659-3.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2015). Isolation of adipose and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells using CD29 and CD90 modifies their capacity for osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation. Journal of Tissue Engineering, 6: 2041731415592356.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2014). A comparison of the in vitro mineralisation and dentinogenic potential of mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue, bone marrow and dental pulp. Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, 33: 371-82.
  • Davies OG, et al. (2014). The effects of cryopreservation on cells isolated from adipose, bone marrow and dental pulp. Cryobiology, 69: 342-7.

Book Chapters:

  • Davies OG, Scheven BA. (2016). Dental stem cells: Regenerative potential. Isolation and cryopreservation of stem cells from dental tissues. Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Springer, Humana Press. P57-71. http://www.springer.com/series/7896?detailsPage=titles.