Our Immunology program applies the various imaging technologies available to us to visualise how the immune system recognises a foreign invader, activates an appropriate (and sometimes inappropriate) systemic response and eventually effects a lethal response to deal with the threat.
Recognising a foreign invader as a potential threat is a key first step in the function of our immune system. This role is typically performed by a variety of T cells in our body that are capable of recognising different kinds of antigens. The Recognition theme focuses on visualising how three different classes of molecules, indicative of a potential threat, are presented to and detected by our immune system. The three classes of molecules are: (a) peptides, (b) lipids, and (c) metabolites.
Once a foreign invader is recognised by our immune system, the next stage is the activation of an appropriate response to deal with the threat. Typically, a complex signalling mechanism is triggered that involve dynamic spatial organisation of a network of molecules, clusters and vesicles that then result in downstream activation responses.
The final step in the process of dealing with a foreign invader is effecting an appropriate lethal response to deal with the threat. The Effector Function theme investigates (a) how our innate immune system responds to the detection of pathogens, and ways to target and modulate the response of specific innate immune cells selectively, and (b) the weaponry associated with immune killing and the roles of complement proteins in immune signalling.