Imaging and Defining Emergent Behaviors of the Immune Response

Cell-cell interactions are of central importance in the development and maintenance of multicellular organisms. This is particularly important for the highly motile immune system that transits information across great distances and subsequently needs to integrate information with other cells present in tissues. While the biochemical players for these interactions are largely known, the dynamics of how any of these molecules work in their natural environment has been technically very difficult to approach. We are addressing these problems using a variety of real-time 3D imaging approaches, focusing upon spatiotemporal control of motility and synapse formation.

We aim to understand how the immune system acts as an ‘information system’ within a spatially challenging landscape. Our research provides integrative information to understand the dynamics that generate normal and pathogenic emergent behaviors of the immune system. These include immune memory, tolerance to tumors, organ-localized allergy and organ-specific autoimmunity.

  1. The Immune System is Predicated on Control of Motility and the Degree of Membrane-Membrane Apposition
  2. Identification of Novel Motility/Morphology players in T cell biology
  3. Tracking T cell receptors and co-receptors during engagement
  4. Multicellular Dynamics and ‘Quorum’ decision making in Tissues
  5. Immune Dynamics and Information Transfer in Disease States
  6. Development of Technologies for Assessing Information Transfer in Situ