The Vechetti Laboratory investigates skeletal muscle-derived extracellular vesicles in the context of exercise and inflammatory disease. We are also actively assessing the molecular pathways involved in skeletal muscle adaptation. 


It is well established that skeletal muscle is essential to physical movement, posture, and breathing. Recently, skeletal muscle has also been recognized as a secretory organ, releasing molecules (cytokines, microRNAs, proteins, lipids) that exert either autocrine, paracrine, or endocrine effects. Part of the muscle secretome is released within membrane-enclosed vesicles collectively called “Extracellular Vesicles” (EVs), known to act as intercellular messengers. These findings provide a conceptual basis for understanding how skeletal muscles communicate and affect other organs. Interestingly, many of these molecules produced by the skeletal muscle are influenced by contraction, suggesting exercise as an essential contribution to muscle communication. 

Our group is interested in understanding how skeletal muscle regulates whole-body adaptations following exercise. Specifically, we investigate how EVs are formed in skeletal muscle and how they contribute to intercellular communication. To do so, we combine:

  1. Cell biology approaches to identify molecular mechanisms of formation, secretion, and interaction with target cells.
  2. The use of genome manipulation (CRISPR-Cas, Cre-Lox, Tet-On/Off) to understand how controlling the secretion and composition of EVs can affect whole-body metabolism.
  3. The analysis of EVs and their components, such as protein, lipids, and miRNAs.

Lab Members

Ivan Vechetti, Assistant Professor

Shengyi Fei
Research: Lipids, EVs, CRISPR/Cas9 experiments

Shengyi is studying Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and will be receiving his master's degree in 2023. He received his bachelor's degree in Food Science and Technology from both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Northwest A&F University and joined Dr. Vechetti’s lab in 2021 Fall as a Graduate Research Assistant. 

Blake Rule
Research: Extracellular vesicles in skeletal muscle

Blake is a postbaccalaureate student at UNL and has received his bachelor's degree in Nutrition Science. He joined Dr. Vechetti's lab in 2021 as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. 

 In the News

How Weight Training Burns Fat - The New York Times, July 21, 2021

 Selected Publications


Vechetti IJ Jr, Peck BD, Wen Y, Walton RG, Alimov AP, Valentino TR, Dungan CM, Van Pelt DW, von Walden F, Alkner B, Peterson CA and McCarthy JJ. Mechanical overload-induced muscle-derived extracellular vesicles promote adipose lipolysis. The FASEB Journal. April 19,2021. DOI: 10.1096/fj.202100242R


Vechetti IJ Jr, Valentino TR, Mobley CB, McCarthy JJ. The role of exosomes in skeletal muscle and systematic adaption to exercise. J Physiol. 2020 Jan 15. DOI: 10.1113/JP278929


Parry, H, et al. Bovine Milk Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) modification Elicits Skeletal Muscle Growth in Rats. Front Physiol. 2019; 10: 436. DOI:10 3389/fphys.2019.00436

Clotilde T, et al. Minimal information for studies of extracellular vesicles 2018 (MISEV2018): a position statement of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles and update of the MISEV2014 guidelines. Journal of Extracellular Vesicles (2019), 8:1, 1535750, DOI: 10.1080/20013078.2018.1535750