the cannon laboratory
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Trafficking of T cells is crucial for every phase of T cell function from the initiation of the immune response to effector function at the site of inflammation. T cells move into the lymph node, where they migrate through the tissue to maximize the chances of encountering an antigen bearing dendritic cell. Once activated, T cells then migrate to inflammatory sites to perform effector functions to clear infection. T cell migration has also been shown to be an important mediator of disease states including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. While the process of T cell migration is critical to immune function, relatively little is known about the types of motion taken by T cells, especially within native physical environments such as the lung during an active immune response.

In addition to mediating immune responses, T cells may become cancerous, developing into leukemia. T-derived leukemia cells also retain many migration properties of normal T cells, and leukemic T cell migration to organs, specifically the brain, pose significant problems for current therapies.

The Cannon Laboratory

The Cannon laboratory is focused on defining and understanding the fundamental mechanisms that control normal T cell and leukemic T cell migration in tissues such as lymph nodes, lung, and brain. We use a combination of cutting edge imaging techniques to visualize T cell movement in living tissues along with computational modeling tools to answer questions about how specific types of motility affect T cell function. Using a combination of 2-photon microscopy, flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, and standard biochemistry, we analyze T cell and leukemic cell movement in living tissues. Using this quantitative understanding, we can develop a more in depth understanding and better computational models to improve immune responses and therapies in leukemia.

The Cannon Laboratory