In order to study this complex interaction and its regulation, in our research we use the so-called flow cytometry. Within a mixture of many millions of cells, we measure 10 to 40 characteristics from each cell. Since evaluting each individual measurement in each cell would be too time-consuming, we use mathematical approaches that allow us to represent all the information in two dimensions using so called 't-SNE plots'. The points corresponding to the cells that have similar characteristics are located near one another, while cells that differ from one another are farther apart. Using this simplified depiction, we can quickly recognize which cells have changed as a result of an infection. In a subsequent step, these changed cells can then be examined according to each of the characteristics that have been measured.
Using models in which certain aspects of immune regulation are missing or are particulary pronounced, we try to understand how the characteristics of an immune response can change through immune regulation.
Nicole Joller is SNF/ERC Assistant Professor at the Institute for Experimental Immunology at the University of Zurich. More