I am interested in studying phagocytosis, which is a critical function of innate immune system - the body's first line of defense.
Phagocytosis is the process by which specialised white blood cells (phagocytes) detect, engulf (eat) and destroy invading pathogens. For these cells to identify invading microbes as 'foreign', they rely on proteins present on their surface, which recognise either the pathogen surface itself, or molecular 'flags' that are deposited onto the microbe to label it as foreign.
Specifically, I am interested in addressing the following questions:
- How does ageing affects phagocyte function?
- How does ageing affects the molecular 'flags' that are deposited on the pathogen surface?
- Can we improve overall mechanism of phagocytosis using small biomolecules?
- Can we target small biomolecules into phagocytes using nanoparticles?