3D MicroFluidics Platform
The importance of T cells in the control of HBV infection has been demonstrated in experimental infections of animal models, and also supported by many clinical studies. Following this concept, the most recent therapeutic approaches focuses on adoptively transferring engineered HBV-specific T cells into patients in an attempt to combat infection, in the case of chronic HBV infection, or eradicate HBV-related liver tumours respectively. Understanding the liver microenvironment and how it subsequently affects the behavior of the engineered T cells becomes crucial in order for this therapeutic approach to be successful. My interest hence lies in analyzing how immune effector cells in the liver differ from their peripheral blood counterparts and how HBV infection and progression to hepatocellular carcinoma alters both the liver microenvironment and the resident immune cells. At the same time, in collaboration with Biosym (SMART-MIT), we have developed an imaging-based 3-dimensional microfluidic assay for the investigation of cellular cytotoxicity and dynamics as a pre-clinical test bench to understand the functionality of effector cells in environments similar to that encountered during actual adoptive therapy.