My laboratory is interested in the process of leukocyte migration as occurs during normal immune surveillance, inflammation and tumor development. We are particularly interested in understanding the molecular interactions and signaling pathways that regulate this migration. To determine how the migration of specific populations of leukocytes is controlled, my laboratory uses a combination of cellular, molecular, imaging, and flow cytometric approaches in both in vitro and in vivo systems.
Current studies in the lab focus on the role of adhesion molecules in regulating leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation, including tumors. For our in vitro studies we make use of a number of transfected leukocyte and endothelial-like cell lines expressing specific adhesion molecules of interest. Interactions between the leukocytes and endothelial cell lines under flow conditions are analyzed using high-speed digital microscopy. These same cell lines are also used to examine transendothelial migration using chemotaxis assays. We are using pharmacologic inhibitors to define the intracellular signaling pathways that are involved in regulating this migration. For our in vivo studies we utilize multiple transgenic lines of mice to examine the migration pathways of specific leukocyte populations during an immune response. These studies are providing new information on these processes that can be applied to developing new therapies for blocking unwanted leukocyte migration as occurs in pathological conditions of chronic inflammation such as in rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or cancer.