Drosophila embryonic macrophages as a model system for studying migration and bacterial infection in real time

Year of award: 2015


  • Prof Will Wood

    University of Edinburgh

Project summary

Immune cells play an important role in the upkeep and repair of our bodies. They defend us against infection and disease and when we are wounded they raise an effective inflammatory response rapidly migrating to sites of damage where they detect, ingest and degrade debris, dying cells and invading pathogens. While this is critical to prevent infection, too much of a response can cause or worsen a wide range of human diseases and conditions including autoimmunity, atherosclerosis, cancer and chronic inflammation, often due to the inappropriate behaviour of the immune cells themselves.

We aim to understand how immune cells integrate and prioritise the competing signals that they are exposed to in our bodies.

A greater understanding of how immune cells migrate is critical for improving human health as it would enable us to discover novel points of intervention to manipulate immune cell behaviour and allow us to design therapies to direct immune cells away from sites where they are doing damage, such as tumours, and send them to places where they are needed.