York Science & Innovation Grand Tour May - Sept 2012

Sponsored by Aviva

13 Piccadilly

Did you know?

University of York scientists use cutting edge 4-Dimensional imaging technologies to understand how your immune system works.

Shown in the image are cancer cells used by researchers to study how blood cells communicate to fight infection. Sophisticated 4-Dimensional (3D space and time) imaging technology allows researchers at York to understand how the immune system protects against disease and develop new treatments for cancer, autoimmune and infectious disease.

Image credit: Amy Sawtell, Graeme Park, Robert Henderson, Peter O’Toole, Mark Coles

This exhibit is just one example of the breadth of research carried out within the Department of Biology at the University of York. For more examples please see the links under ‘Other Exhibits from this Sponsor’.

The image is of an immortal cancer cell line used in immunology research to analyse drugs that inhibit the function of the immune system. This cancer cell line has been genetically modified to express a green fluorescent protein permitting imaging of drug function. The cell has been stained with dyes that show the nucleus (purple) and cell membrane (blue). Curiously the cell looks like a sea horse! Imaging is a powerful tool to understand the function of the immune system and using specialised microscopes in the Technology Facility in York we can determine how cells of the immune system move and interact in four dimensions (time and space). The active movement of immune cells is critical in their function to protect the body from infection. Novel drugs have been developed that inhibit the normal movement of immune cells and are being used to treat Multiple Scerlosis and other autoimmune diseases.

This image was created as part of a BBSRC CASE funded PhD studentship with GlaxoSmithKline. More information on research on the Coles group can be found here.

If you are a teacher or involved in an organization, club or society, and would like to have a presentation or activity related to these or other biological topics, we may be able to help. Visit the Biology or Centre of Immunology and Infection outreach webpage to learn about past and present outreach activities. Contact details can be found there as well.

The research activities described above are made possibly with financial support from a wide range of sources, including but not limited to charities like the Wellcome Trust, governmental support through Research Councils UK, industrial funding, as well as international funding from the European Union and foreign governments. Details about the funding for individual projects can be found by following the links to the research groups’ websites.

Reproduction in any form of any of the images on this website is strictly prohibited.

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