Immune Imaging Group

Professor Wolfgang Weninger, Head

The immune system is immensely important in the prevention of skin cancers and infections. It is therefore crucial to study the mechanisms by which immune cells recognise developing tumours and invading microbes, such as bacteria and viruses. A better understanding of these processes could lead to improved therapies against these diseases, and may help the development of prophylactic measures, such as vaccines.

Professor Wolfgang Weninger’s group has been studying how immune cells navigate within sites of skin inflammation and skin tumours using a variety of experimental animal models. For example, the group is investigating the role of immune cells in cutaneous Herpes simplex and mycobacterial infections, and is determining how immune cells interact with and destroy cancer cells.

The group has set up a very sophisticated, one-of- a-kind multi-photon microscope system for these studies. This makes it easier to observe the behaviour of single cells in real time within the intricate 3D context of intact organs. These experiments provide mechanistic insights into the events leading to tumour cell destruction or the eradication of infected cells. These studies have important implications for the optimisation of therapeutic strategies that aim to target cancer and infections.

The research team

Dr Lois L Cavanagh, Senior research fellow Dr Sioh-Yang Tan, Postdoctoral fellow
Dr Paulus Mrass, Senior research fellow Mary Mouawad, Research assistant
Dr Ichiko Kinjo, Postdoctoral fellow Jim Qin, Research assistant
Dr Lai Guan Ng, Postdoctoral fellow Keiko Matsuzaki, Masters student
Dr Saparna Pai, Postdoctoral fellow Mark Taylor, Honours student
Dr Ben Rodediger, Postdoctoral fellow Anne Muñoz, Personal assistant
Dr Nital Sumaria, Postdoctoral fellow  

Featured image

lymphatic vessels

A confocal image of lymphatic vessels (red) within the skin of a CD11c- EYFP transgenic mouse. Dendritic cells within this mouse endogenously fluoresce yellow, while lymphatic vessels were identified by antibody staining to LYVE-1. The dendritic cells within the dermis comprise a constitutively migratory population that exits the skin via the lymphatics. Once in the lymphatics, these cells migrate to and take up residence in the draining lymph node. It is there that they present.