Cellular Imaging

The Cellular Imaging theme aims to image and quantify cellular behaviour in living animals. This will provide us the final piece to the puzzle of how molecular interactions result in co-ordinated immune response at the macroscale (i.e. whole animal level).

Specifically, we will focus on developing four key technologies that will enable us to visualise the details of immune responses in animals – (a) two-photon microscopy, (b) intravital imaging, (c) adaptive & computational optics and (d) the In Vivo Imaging Facility (IVIF) at the Imaging and Medical Beamline (IMB) of the Australian Synchrotron.

In addition, we will also develop:

  • cell-labelling and surgical approaches to studying immunity in the spleen and other tissues;
    protocols that will allow immunologically relevant cells to be tagged for X-ray imaging; and
  • imaging methods that can track clusters of cells in whole animal imaging experiments thus allowing whole body distributions and dynamics to be monitored.

Reseach Highlights

Persistence of skin-resident memory T cells within an epidermal niche

Centre Research Fellow Ali Zaid, AI Scott Mueller and CI Bill Heath were part of a team of researchers who showed that in the skin, tissue-resident memory T cells, a type of immune cell that contributes to protection from infections, remain preferentially at the site of a prior infection despite having the ability to migrate through the epidermis. Moreover, they also showed that the formation of these memory T cells involved concomitant local reduction in numbers of another type of immune cell, dendritic epidermal γδ T cells, and that the same transcription factor responsible for maintaining dendritic epidermal γδ T cells also contributes to the maintenance of memory T cells. Together, these findings suggest that the epidermal T-cell niche is tightly regulated. The work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America and involved researchers from University of Melbourne and The Babraham Institute in Cambridge, UK.

Persistence of skin-resident memory T cells within an epidermal niche. PNAS, April 2014

Authors: A Zaid, LK Mackay, A Rahimpour, A Braun, M Veldhoen, FR Carbone, JH Manton, WR Heath, SN Mueller

Theme Leaders:

Bill Heath


Francis Carbone, Woei Ming (Steve) Lee, Jeffrey Davis, Michael Jones, Benedicta Arhatari, Scott Mueller, Hidde Ploegh, Andrew Peele