I am interested in understanding the factors that influence the proliferation, migration and differentiation of germinal center B lymphocytes. A particular interest of mine is the behavior of activated B cells and their interaction with other cell types within the context of tissue architecture. I use a combination of histology, flow cytometry and intravital multiphoton microscopy to study the factors that regulate B cell subset activation and their movements in vivo. A related area of interest includes the cellular interactions of B cells with stromal cells during adaptive immune responses.
My research has focused on the cellular and molecular interactions regulating the form and function of an inducible lymphoid tissue structure called germinal centers. Germinal centers (GC) are large aggregates of B cells specificially responding to a foreign substance. They develop in the center of B cell follicles in spleen and lymph nodes about one week after initial immunization or exposure to pathogens. GCs are sites of extreme metabolism, with very high proliferation and death rates, and evolve over time to form structures with phenotypically distinct zones. GC development requires intricate interactions of B cells with multiple other cell types to achieve both the affinity maturation of plasma cells producing antibodies and the generation of memory B cells that are key to long-term immune protection. The regional composition of other cell types can vary tremendously and can include CD4+ T cell subsets, dendritic cells and activated macrophages. Defining the impact of interactions with other adjacent cell types will be an essential component of advances in this field. My current research aims to tease apart the role that each may play in the cascade of events regulating both the expansion of GC B cells and the effector output of germinal centers.
Antibody Formation; Immunity, Cellular; Lymphocyte Activation; Lymphoid Tissue; Lymphoma, B-Cell; Germinal Center; Dendritic Cells, Follicular; Immunological Synapses