Dissecting the evolution of immune responses to infection

A/Prof Scott Mueller, Laboratory Head, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, Australia

Priming of immune responses to infection occurs within the organised microarchitecture of the secondary lymphoid organs. Various stromal cell subsets construct 3-dimensional networks within which immune cells migrate, interact and become activated. Upon infection, lymph nodes (LN) undergo substantial enlargement, triggered by recruitment of immune cells, T cells are activated within LN by dendritic cells (DC), and we have shown that sequential interactions with subsets of DC controls effective priming of CD4 and CD8 T cell responses. To understand the complex dynamics of cellular interactions required for T cell priming and memory, and how stromal cells support these processes, we are combining intravital 2-photon microscopy and novel mouse models.

Associate Professor Scott Mueller is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and laboratory head in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. Scott completed his PhD at The University of Melbourne, performed postdoctoral training in the USA at Emory University and then at the National Institutes of Health before starting his laboratory in 2010.

Scott’s research is focused on dissecting the fundamental cellular processes involved in immune responses to infectious diseases in order to identify new targets for vaccine design and therapeutics. He is interrogating cell dynamics and cell-cell interactions in vivo from the perspective of the immune cells (lymphocytes, dendritic cells) and stromal cells to achieve a detailed understanding of these processes from the cell to the tissue level. Utilizing animal models and intravital microscopy techniques he has pioneered methods to image skin and discovered subsets of tissue-resident memory T cells that provide rapid, front-line defense against infections. Current research is also identifying neuro-immune pathway influencing cell migration.