background behind the research

Nano and Micro-particle Interaction with Immune Cells

Questions of Interest:
1. What does an immune cell “do” after phagocytosis of a particulate it cannot degrade?
2. Where do particles end up inside a cell?
3. Do innate immune cells flowing in the blood take up particulates?

Our data suggests:
• Uptake of particles drives additional phagocytosis in macrophages, monocytes and neutrophils. We label this phenomenon as sequential phagocytosis.
  • • Changes in membrane fluidity and stiffness are likely driving increased sequential phagocytosis.
  • • We use advanced microscopy techniques to track particles inside a cell and determine its ultimate location. Particles are not where you might expect.
• Both monocytes and neutrophils are capable of taking up sub-micron and nano-sized particles while flowing.

Ultimate goal:
Develop a better understanding of how diagnostic and therapeutic particles affect immune cells. And we hope to utilize the knowledge gained in modulating immune cell activity in various diseased conditions.
Timeline: ~10 years