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Role of Membrane Dynamics on Immunological Responses (MEMBRANE DYNAMICS)
Start date: 13 Jan 2015, End date: 12 Jan 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The cellular plasma membrane is composed mainly of lipids and proteins. The bioactivity of the plasma membrane (such as the activation of receptors) is not only triggered and influenced by protein-protein or lipid-protein interactions, but also by bulk properties of the membrane such as the order or packing of lipids. In this project, I aim to understand how lipid packing influences membrane related processes in immunology such as T-cell signaling or antigen presentation. It is believed that lipid packing may have an important role in membrane-related immunological processes by concentrating various key molecules in a specific part of the membrane, thus constituting a catalytic platform to initiate signaling. However, numerous important questions remain, some of which I would like to pursue during my postdoctoral period using novel tools on model membranes and living cells: Is there any heterogeneity in lipid packing in the plasma membrane of T-cells or antigen-presenting (primary) cells? How does a variation in lipid packing effect the compartmentalization of key-proteins involved in T-cell signaling and antigen presentation, and how does this variation and compartmentalization effect functionality? Following that, I would like to develop an in-vitro lipid-protein vesicle system to model important characteristics of this aspect of immunology."
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