Welcome to the S. Celeste Morley Lab!
Up, down and all around. Immune cells are constantly in motion as they seek to defend the host against pathogens. Dramatic cell shape changes induced by alterations in the underlying actin cytoskeleton provide the structural framework required for cell motility. The Morley lab is interested in defining how elements of the actin cytoskeleton regulate immune cell shape and motility, and how impairments in motility then alter immune cell development and activation.
The Morley lab works on both adaptive and innate immune responses with current projects investigating B cells and alveolar macrophages. Our primary model system uses mice lacking an actin-binding protein called L-plastin, which is only expressed in cells of the immune system (the “L” stands for “leukocyte”). Thus far we have found requirements for L-plastin in cell migration and activation, and we are working with a variety of different techniques to tease apart mechanisms. Other immune cell types are also likely to have defects. These areas for research are wide open. Additionally, we are working with a pneumococcal model of infection and are interested in exploring other infectious models in the future.
We have a variety of fascinating projects to work on that range from signal transduction and protein structure-function analysis to cytoskeletal dynamics to cellular immunology and host-pathogen interactions to a clinical-translational project looking for variant alleles in L-plastin-associated proteins in patients.