|Associate Professor Patrick Bertolino | Liver Immunology Program
The Liver Immunology Group is studying the unique relationship between the liver and white blood cells to improve treatments for malaria, viral hepatitis, transplantation and gene therapy in humans. The group uses advanced imaging technology and other state-of-the-art technologies to understand how white blood cells are instructed by hepatic cells in both the healthy and diseased or transplanted liver.
We have recently discovered a new liver cell that protects us against gut bacteria. To investigate whether it regulates also in liver disease and cancer, it is important to assess whether this cell interacts with other liver cells. This analysis requires a state-of-the-art confocal microscope that discriminates different cells with the highest detail.
|Dr Chandrika Deshpande | Structural Biology Program
My project involves understanding iron homeostasis in humans, which is critical to human health. Disruption of iron balance in circulation and in cells is a major underlying disease catalyst in chronic infections and inflammatory diseases. We are investigating a protein playing a critical role in maintaining this balance with a long-term aim to be able to ‘tune’ its function in diseases.
Our laboratory focuses on understanding the 3D architecture of membrane proteins which play a critical role in relaying vital information between the cell and outside world. As such they are important drug targets. We utilise confocal microscopy to visualise and verify the precise location of these proteins in cellular membrane.
|James Henderson | Molecular Heptology Laboratory
As a student I was initially attracted to Centenary because of its excellent academic record and location. I am currently working on liver cancer and with the hope to identify new therapies. I have been studying closely the role of the underlying pathogenesis of this disease. I primarily work with mouse and human liver tissue.
Centenary has state-of-the-art equipment and skilled technicians and my work has benefitted greatly from the use of the confocal microscope. It has helped me to view and shed new insights into liver cancer. Without cutting edge equiment and techniques, the secrets of which we will never get an answer.
|Professor Jenny Gamble | Vascular Biology Program
The focus of our team is to understand the function of endothelial cells – the cells lining all blood vessels. With this fundamental understanding we can then determine how they change with age and their impact on ageing, and how they contribute to diseases such as solid cancers, in cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, stroke and diabetes and in inflammatory diseases.
In our studies we need to be able to investigate how our endothelial cells respond to stress (eg in cancer growth, stresses of ageing) and what happens to their shape, their ability to interact with other cells and the proteins they display on their surface. We use state-of-the-art imaging for these studies, where the confocal imaging machine is central.
|Dr Peyman Obeidy | Immune Imaging Program
Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) defend us against viral infection and cancers. Circulating CTLs use different motility mechanisms to search, find and eliminate the abnormal target cells. CTLs are capable of distinguishing normal from abnormal cells in the complex interstitial space within tissues and tumour microenvironment. Using different imaging techniques, I want to elucidate the cytoskeleton machinery for CTL movement in greater detail.
Confocal microscopy is an indispensable tool that I use to investigate all possible avenues characterising the effect of genetic modifications to CTL cytoskeleton in vitro. This provides high-resolution details on the movement, morphology and cytotoxic ability of modified CTLs on a single cell or whole population level.
|Dr Angela Lay | Molecular Heptology Laboratory
Liver fibrosis is characterised by excessive deposition of scar tissues as a result of liver repair mechanism following injury. Inflammation is the main driver of fibrosis which is treatable if detected early. However, we do not know how to catch them at that early stage. We aim to identify key players involved in the progression of fibrotic disease. By revealing and understanding the cause of the problem, only then we can formulate a plan to combat the disease.
Confocal microscopy plays a vital role for my research and helps understand how cells respond to drug treatment. It gives a snapshot on how treatment affects the cells phenotypes, their behaviour and their interactions with other cells within the microenvironment. Our work can be ‘abstract’, we are blind at the cellular level.
|Dr Ka Ka Ting | Vascular Biology Program
My current research involves investigating the effects of Blockmir CD5-2, a new vascular specific-oligonucleotide based drug on animal models of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the main cause of blindness in diabetic patients and it is usually associated with abnormal blood vessel growth and vascular leakage in the eye.
The confocal microscope is important for me to image the vasculature and study its interaction with surrounding cells in diabetic mouse retina. The confocal allows me to also look at the fine structures of the vasculature, e.g. the filopodia extensions at the tip of the vessel, which gives the signal for direction of the vessel growth.
|Dr Shweta Tikoo and Dr Rohit Jain| Immune Imaging Program
Our current research focusses on understanding the role of immune cells in aiding breast tumour growth and spread. We aim to decipher how tumour cells influence immune cells to perform pro-tumoural functions that increase tumour survival and spread instead of their pre-programmed tumour suppressive functions. Our preliminary studies underpin tumour-induced inflammation as a key player in changing tumour microenvironment, immune cell recruitment and function.
Confocal microscopes provide unprecedented insights into the evolving tumour microenvironment at a single cell resolution. This enables us to identify and spatially localise immune cells within this environment thereby generating a tumour-immune cell map wherein both global as well as local information can be recorded and analysed.