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Dr Sophie Acton

Dr Sophie Acton


‘Stromal/leukocyte Crosstalk in Immunity and Tumour Progression’

Dr Sophie Acton, University College London


Our immune system is our defence against the outside world. It is a complex mix of many cell types with specific tasks. These range from detection of foreign and harmful substances to killing infected cells. We know what each cell type is capable of, but the complex ways that different cells communicate and work together is more mysterious. For efficient protection, immune cells named dendritic cells patrol every inch of our body and migrate enormous distances to relay danger messages detected. Dendritic cells are guided towards lymph nodes, by nonimmune cells that form the structures of vessels and the architectural underpinnings of lymph nodes. It has only recently been discovered that the nonimmune cells, broadly termed stromal cells, play a vital role in immune responses. This is now one of the most exciting areas of immunology research. The dynamic swelling of lymph nodes is critical to all immune responses. I want to understand how lymph nodes swell. When and how do stromal numbers increase? In future work I address ‘how does the stromal architecture affect immune responses?’ and further to understand ‘how changes in stromal architecture and mechanical forces during lymph node swelling alter the behaviour of stromal cells?’



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