CD8+ T cells are specialized cells that specifically recognize cells infected with pathogens or tumour cells. Using intra-vital imaging we are unraveling how CD8+ T cells patrol the sinusoids and find malaria parasites. Because the actual number of cells in the liver that are infected in very small this is like finding a needle in a haystack. We are trying to determine the critical molecules involved in this patrolling behavior as well as the ways that CD8+ T cells actually kill parasites. Based on these molecules we can define different subpopulations of CD8+ T cells in the liver and work out which of these are likely to be best able to protect.
We have opportunities for specific projects in this research theme centred on cellular immunology techniques (flow cytometry; intravital imaging).