Determining the migration signals that lead to protective immune responses

Determining the migration signals that lead to protective immune responses

Project details

Almost all current vaccines protect via the induction of long-term antibody responses, which are established in structures termed germinal centres (GCs). The formation of GCs requires the integration of signals between different migration-inducing ligands known as chemokines.

To understand how this balance is achieved we have developed new approaches to study the signals that control immune cell localisation. This project will reveal how these chemokines orchestrate cell differentiation and immune protection.

Techniques to be used: 

  • Characterise a new model of chemokine expression using infection and autoimmune systems
  • Analysis of cell migration using time-lapse imaging
  • Analysis of human samples
  • CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing
  • Flow cytometry
  • Advanced imaging and bioinformatic analysis

About our research group

Our immune system consists of specialised cells that collaborate to defeat invading pathogens. The integration of migration signals helps balance protective and detrimental fates, leading to protection from infection or promotion of autoimmune disease. How cells navigate these interactions is a dilemma of critical importance to human health globally.

Our lab studies how cell migration and interactions allow our immune system to function efficiently and how this is altered in autoimmune disease. We use a multi-disciplinary approach combining infectious and autoimmune models, advanced imaging, bioinformatic analysis, and molecular screening to dissect the migration networks that control cell fate and function. These cutting-edge approaches allow us to identify new targets for the strategic design of vaccines and therapies for infectious and inflammatory disease.



Dr Joanna Groom

Dr Joanna Groom outside a lab
Laboratory Head
Dr Fanny Lafouresse profile shot
Immunology and Molecular Immunology divisions

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