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Lessons with Lenny

The most abundant particle of every cell of your body is something you have most likely never heard of – the vault and Dr. Lenny Rome wants to help you understand it. A new online video series “The Vault Guy” aims to teach cell biology to non-cell biologists and help uncover the mystery of vaults and how they could potentially change the world one day.

“I created this channel to educate anyone interested in science about vaults,” said Rome. “My goal is to teach cell biology to people who like science, but do not have formal science training, by describing the discovery and characterization of the vault. Vault discovery, properties and applications span major biological processes and concepts. Vaults exist in the nano scale world, so in order to understand this incredible particle, I start with a description of the nano scale and proceed with a tour of a typical human cell, to the journey that resulted in the discovery of vaults.

Since 2005 Rome has been the Associate Director of the California NanoSystems Institute and Distinguished Professor of Biological Chemistry. His laboratory research at UCLA centers on a novel cellular organelle called a “vault” which he and a former postdoc, Dr. Nancy Kedersha, discovered in 1986. Over three-times the size of a ribosome, vaults are the largest cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein particles known. The vault particle is thought to carry out a basic cellular function and they have been shown to play a role in multidrug resistance of cancer cells. Rome leads a team of interdisciplinary scientists affiliated with the CNSI who are engineering the vault particle as flexible nano-scale capsules for a wide variety of applications from drug delivery to vaccines to intercellular sensors.

The Vault Guy launched early this year and can be found on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

Visit the Vault website here.