Current Research and Scholarly Interests
The advent of high dimensional flow cytometry has revolutionized our ability to study and visualize the human immune system. Our group combines high parameter mass cytometry (a.k.a Cytometry by Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry, CyTOF), with advanced bio-computational methods to study how the human immune system responds and adapts to acute physiological perturbations. The laboratory currently focuses on two clinical scenarios: surgical trauma and pregnancy.
Deep immune profiling of patients undergoing and recovering from surgery: Using high dimensional mass cytometry, we have recently shown that the signaling behavior of specific innate immune cells measured before surgery in patients blood was strongly associated with surgical recovery. Prospective validation of reported immune correlates of surgical recovery are underway. Ongoing work in humans and animal models focuses on the mechanisms by which pre-operative habilitation interventions may alter a patient’s immune state to improve recovery after surgery.
Deep Immune profiling of normal and preterm pregnancy: Our group is an integral component of a multi-disciplinary effort aiming at understanding the mechanisms of preterm birth, and identifying predictive factors of premature delivery. We have now developed a pipeline and the analytical framework to integrate the single-cell analysis of immune signaling networks by mass cytometry and proteomic profiling of secreted serum factors with the precise phenotyping of pregnancy-related clinical outcomes. In a pilot cross-sectional study of non-pregnant women, we identified candidate immune signatures that differentiated women with a history of preterm or term pregnancies. Longitudinal studies in pregnant patients are ongoing to validate these findings.