Characterizing immune cell activation with optical metabolic imaging
Current methods to characterize immune cells include flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry. However, these methods require exogenous labels, fixation, or dissociation of the sample and are thus insufficient for time-course, in vivo, and non-destructive assessments. There is a need for a label-free method to study immune cell function in primary human cells over time. Immune cell function is closely tied to metabolism, so optical metabolic imaging (OMI) of the metabolic co-enzymes NAD(P)H and FAD is a promising tool to fill this need. Currently, I am working on optimizing the use of OMI to monitor T cell function and response to micro-environment conditions.