B cells are important immune cells. They produce antibodies against foreign molecules on pathogens, and in this way they protect us against disease.
In our laboratory, we are interested in both the cellular and the molecular events that lead to the activation of B cells. We want to understand how these events affect the ability of B cells to produce antibodies. To do this, we work both in vivo and in vitro by combining state-of-the-art imaging technology with biochemistry and genetic models. For example: by following B cells in vivo we can better understand where and when they are activated (Carrasco & Batista 2007; Gaya et al. 2015). By tracking single B cell receptor (BCR) molecules we have shown how the cortical cytoskeleton network regulates receptor signalling (Mattila et al. 2013; Treanor et al. 2011; Treanor et al. 2010). Similarly, by studying actin regulators such as Cdc42 or Nck we have shown that they play a major role in B cell activation and antibody production (Burbage et al. 2014; Castello et al. 2013).
We have therefore been, and continue to work towards, a clearer understanding of B cell activation and antibody production at a cellular and molecular level with our innovative approach. This knowledge will aid us in the fight against infectious diseases and cancer.