Determining the migration signals leading to protective immune responses

Determining the migration signals leading to protective immune responses

Project details

A defining feature of immunity is the acquisition of immunological memory, which confers enhanced protection against pathogens. Exploiting this, vaccine development has saved the lives of millions worldwide. Despite successes, challenges remain for the development of vaccines against viral infections of global importance. New insights into how T cell memory is established will significantly improve future vaccine development. 

This project aims to investigate the cellular interactions that drive T cell differentiation towards effector and memory cells. This project combines live 2-photon imaging with for the detection of cellular interactions with single cell RNAseq bioinformatics to determine the transcriptional consequences of these interactions and their impact on disease protection. 

Techniques to be used:

  • Viral infection models
  • Live 2-photon microscopy
  • Single cell RNAseq analysis
  • Flow cytometry

Microscopic image of lymph node
This image shows a cleared, 3D image of lymph node indicating chemokine expressing cells (blue and red).
Blood vessels are stained (white) to show lymph node architecture. Chemokine-expressing cells formation
of clusters between T cells and dendritic cells following viral infection. These cellular interactions help
decide T cell effector and memory fate decisions in vivo.  

About our research group

Our immune system requires flexibility to protect us against numerous and varied infectious agents. Following infection, immune cells integrate pathogen-specific signals to promote the dynamic migration and interactions required to determine cell differentiation and function. Our lab investigates multiple mechanisms that work together to direct flexible protective responses. 

Our research combines pathogen models, reporter mice, advanced imaging, and transcriptional analysis to dissect the networks that control cell fate and enable flexibility in immune responses. We use these advanced approaches to identify new therapeutic avenues to drive immune responses either towards protection or away from autoimmunity.



Dr Joanna Groom

Dr Joanna Groom at a microscope
Laboratory Head

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