Pathology Presents: Illuminating the Microenvironments that Shape the Immune Response
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Michael Gerner, PhD
Department of Immunology
University of Washington
- Faculty Sponsor
Kelly Smith, MD, PhD
Illuminating the Microenvironments that Shape the Immune Response
The immune system is composed of a multitude of functionally unique innate and adaptive cell types that work together to protect against diverse perturbations and challenges. Further, these cells appear to reside in unique micro-anatomical regions in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, suggesting that cellular spatial organization is critical for normal homeostasis and immunity. In particular, the laboratory focuses on understanding how dendritic cell positioning in lymphoid organs influences the capture of vaccine and pathogen derived antigens, as well as the downstream interactions with T cells. To investigate such questions directly in vivo, we are utilizing various cutting-edge imaging approaches, such as multi-parameter quantitative Histo-Cytometry, intra-vital 2-photon microscopy, as well as are developing novel techniques for whole-organ imaging. Collectively, the work provides insights into structure-function relationships for tissues and their immune cell constituents, as well as paves way for improving rational vaccine design.