Macrophages are found in nearly every tissue of the body. They play a central role in regulating inflammatory and antimicrobial immune responses as well as tissue homeostasis and repair.
Through our research, we seek to answer fundamental questions regarding the role of cellular metabolism in regulating macrophage function across diverse tissue microenvironments. We are particularly interested in understanding how mitochondria regulate macrophage function and how dysregulation of these processes contribute to diseases such as viral and bacterial infections, chronic wounds, asthma and cancer.
PROJECT 1: Evaluating the role of mitochondrial reprogramming in fine tuning antimicrobial immune responses
Mitochondria are central regulators of cellular metabolism. These highly dynamic organelles alter their location, structure and internal metabolite flux to adapt to local microenvironments and support immune function. This project seeks to understand how the dynamic modulation of mitochondrial function and the production of mitochondrial metabolites and other bioactive molecules promote and amplify antimicrobial signaling in response to diverse viruses and bacteria.
Collaborator: Dr. Joerg Overhage
PROJECT 3: Targeting tumour associated macrophages using oncolytic viruses to enhance anti-tumour immunity
Oncolytic viruses represent a powerful immunomodulatory treatment for cancer but it is unclear what role tumour associated macrophages (TAM) play in these responses. In this project we are investigating whether TAMs can be reprogrammed by oncolytic viruses to support anti-tumour immune responses. We are also developing 3D tumour models to better mimic interactions between TAMs and cancer cells and assess their responsiveness to oncolytic viruses.
Collaborators: Dr. Leila Mostaco-Guidolin, Turnstone Biologics
PROJECT 2: Understanding how interactions between bacterial biofilms and tissue macrophages contribute to delayed wound healing
Delayed wound healing is a significant issue among ageing individuals and those with chronic diseases such as infection, diabetes/vascular disease, and cancer. In the most severe cases, these delays can result in the formation of non-healing ulcers, which can cause pain, hospitalization, loss of function, and may lead to amputations and/or sepsis. In this project we are interested in understanding how interactions between macrophages and bacterial biofilms contributes to chronic inflammation and delayed healing in chronic wounds.
PROJECT 4: Mapping macrophage-fibroblast interactions to between understand tissue remodeling and fibrosis