NIH Research Festival
The mammalian immune system is a network of organs and tissues that detects and eliminates infection. At the same time, pathogens undergo and escape immune surveillance by employing numerous strategies and processes that are highly dynamic and interactive. While in vitro and in vivo experiments provide strong evidence for how pathogens interact with and evade the immune system, visualizing this in both time and space allows for a better understanding of the spread and outcome of infection. In recording ongoing rather than static immunological events, multiphoton (MP) microscopy offers major advantages with respect to confocal or epifluorescent imaging by combining speed, high-resolution, deep penetration, and minimal photo-damage. Intravital microscopy (IVM) allows imaging live animals at their cellular level during ongoing physiological processes. However, some compartments of immune system such as the lung are difficult to access optically. Live microscopy of tissue and organ explants provides access to these regions of interest and allows for immunostaining as well. In an ideal biomedical study, both techniques together are indispensable. Recently we used both approaches on a Leica SP8 MP and a Stellaris DIVE (Deep In Vivo Explorer) microscopes each equipped with dual MP lasers, to image multiple animal models of infection. In addition to lymph nodes, we have established protocols for imaging of the liver, spleen, brain, lip, and lung from model animals. By employing both in vivo an ex vivo microscopy, we visualize in detail the spread of infection and the immune responses to viruses, bacteria, and pathogenic protozoa. We have performed high speed and high-resolution imaging of Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Leishmania major, SIV and SARS-CoV-2 virus, and Vaccinia virus infections for up to continuous 6 hours and over the course of several days. These studies reveal new potential targets for therapeutical intervention and effective vaccine development in patients suffering from infectious diseases.
Scientific Focus Area: Immunology
This page was last updated on Monday, September 25, 2023