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Biology often elicits the same awe that captivates the imagination when looking at the beauty of an architectural masterpiece. Yet, to understand how the building was assembled or the forces it can withstand, we need a closer view of the engineering schematics. This concept can also be applied to the study of biology. For instance, spatial biology techniques allow investigators to visualize and quantify the cellular architecture of an almost limitless array of tissue samples with highly accurate three-dimensional detail. This enhanced insight is critical to understanding the immune system’s response to pathogenic organisms and could unlock new therapeutic strategies to aid in the treatment of intractable diseases.

In this GEN webinar, we will learn more about the complex, structural nature of granulomas, which are comprised predominantly of macrophages and lymphocytes that function to contain and kill invading pathogens. Our distinguished speaker for this event, Dr. Robert Modlin, will describe how he and his colleagues investigated single-cell phenotypes associated with antimicrobial responses in human leprosy granulomas, defining a set of gene encoding proteins involved in antimicrobial responses. Moreover, we will hear how the researchers compared leprosy and tuberculosis lesions, identifying cell types associated with the pathology of mycobacterial infection. Finally, Dr. Modlin will explain how by integrating the spatial coordinates of the key cell types and antimicrobial gene expression in leprosy lesions, he was able to construct a map revealing the organized architecture of granulomas depicting compositional and functional layers by which macrophages, T cells, keratinocytes, and fibroblasts can each contribute to the antimicrobial response.

A live Q&A followed the presentation, offering a chance to pose questions to our expert panelist.

Robert Modlin
Robert L. Modlin, MD
Klein Professor of Dermatology
Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
David Geffen School of Medicine

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