BioE Seminar: Ex vivo Immune Organoids and On-Chip Technologies for Immunity, Epigenetics, and Malignancies
Abstract:Antibodies are generated by the immune cells in the lymph nodes in response to infection, autoimmunity, and other maladies. Humoral immunity depends on the germinal center differentiation process in the B cell follicles of lymph nodes and spleen. In germinal centers, B cells rapidly proliferate and somatically mutated high-affinity antibody secreting cells, i.e. plasma cells, are generated from naïve B cells in response to T cell-dependent antigen. The stochasticity of the antibody formation process predisposes immune cells to turn into lymphomas. To date, the cross-talk between cellular, biochemical, and biomechanical factors in the lymph node microenvironment that regulate antibody formation and support lymphomas is poorly understood. In this talk, I will discuss my laboratory's effort in developing tractable hydrogel-based ex vivo immune organoids for generating highly specific immune cells in a dish and to elucidate the role of epigenetic modifiers in humoral immunity against infection. I will subsequently describe designer bio-adhesive hydrogels and lymphatic-mimicking technologies for understanding the role of the lymphoid microenvironment in genetically diverse lymphomas and potential causes of drug resistance, including lymphoid tissue mechanics and lymphatic-like fluid flow. Finally, I will discuss the ongoing work on the development of engineered biomaterials for immunomodulation in metabolic syndrome conditions.