Thesis Project Description:
My PhD thesis is centered on a label-free optical imaging technique, tomographic diffraction microscopy and targets medical diagnosis applications by characterizing sub-micrometer conformational changes of T lymphocyte cells. T lymphocyte activation is a key feature of the immune response, during which the adaptive immune system detects specific none-self antigens prior to induce targeted responses. Presently, no technique permits to perform a fast detection of T lymphocyte activation at an early stage, which is
detrimental for the diagnosis of numerous diseases (from infection diseases to allergy). T lymphocyte activation is triggered by several signals exchanged between T lymphocyte and an antigen presenting cell. After the very early steps of activation, a highly organized inter-facial structure appears between the two cells called an immunological synapse. We propose a new approach for quantification of T lymphocyte activation based on the early detection of these immunological synapses. Presently no standard optical microscopy technique has the necessary 3D resolution to tackle this issue. Very recently our research team have shown that optical tomography coupled to sophisticated inversion schemes could be a good candidate for this task.
In this project, a computational tomographic microscope dedicated to the visualization of the immunological synapses will be built inspired from an already existing prototype and adapt the inversion scheme for specific application. Finally, the imaging tool will be transferred to the Hospital La Conception and tested on human blood samples. Statistical tools for evaluating the activation of the T lymphocyte will be developed to help the medical diagnosis.
Interdisciplinary Research Axis:
Master of Science in Optics and Photonics, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany