Illuminating innate and adaptive immunity in the living brain

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Illuminating innate and adaptive immunity in the living brain

Abstract:  My laboratory focuses on innate and adaptive immune responses to states of acute and persistent viral infection. Of particular interest are pathogens that infect the central nervous system (CNS).  Many microbes have the ability to invade the CNS, and it is the unique dialogue between immune cells and the infected CNS that guides much of our research.  Recently, we have begun examining CNS inflammatory responses in real time using intravital two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPM).  This approach allows us to film inflammatory responses as they develop in the living brain.  My talk will focus on recent TPM studies we conducted to gain novel insights into CNS immunity.  I will begin with a discussion of how sterile immunity rapidly develops in the brain following traumatic injury and reveal the mechanisms that drive these inflammatory reactions.  In the second phase of my talk, I will focus on how viral infection induces an innate inflammatory reaction that differs considerably from a traumatic brain injury response.  Lastly, I will showcase how the innate immune system to a viral infection can set the stage for an adaptive response that causes a CNS disease referred to as meningitis.  Throughout the entire talk, TPM movies will be shown in order to shed light on how the brain deals with different inflammatory challenges.