Watching immune cells work
11 May 2022 at 16:20:00
Successful vaccinations and recovery from diseases rely on the correct working of immune cells. Immune cells need to move through the body identifying foreign or diseased parts and rely this to each other so that appropriate responses are launched. All these workings of immune cell rely on their mobilisation of their cytoskeleton. Current research using combination of genomic editing tools and progress in light microscopy enable us to study in detail where, how and which parts of the cytoskeleton are needed. This helps us understand rare but fatal diseases in single letter changes in genes for cytoskeletal components. They also open ways for harnessing the modulator and enabler role of the cytoskeleton in diseases such as cancer.
I study how the actin cytoskeleton tunes and mediates functions in immune cells. My doctoral work studied cytotoxic immune cells and how the release of cytotoxic granules is affected by organisation of actin filaments on the cell surface. Currently, my postdoc research aims to understand how in disease causing mutation specific to actin regulators, the organisation of actin structure can be compensated for as well as functions where this can’t be.