The innate immune system is the first line of defense. Cells of the innate immune system, like neutrophils, macrophages and dendritic cells, recognize and ideally eliminate invading pathogens. During their evolution, bacterial pathogens have developed virulence factors and strategies to evade recognition by host innate immune cells.
We are interested in studying the dynamics of these host-pathogen interactions. What leads to the strong activation and infiltration of immune cells to the site of infection? Using in vivo and in vitro imaging we will visualize the sequence of immune cell infiltration and aim to understand the development from local to severe infection outcomes like sepsis.
In addition to the activation of immune cells infections also trigger the stimulation of the nervous system. We want to investigate how the response of tissue innervating nerves can interact with the immune response to enhance the host defense against pathogens.