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University Funded Pilot Awards


To support a broad range of highly innovative research projects and pilot studies to address key gaps in our understanding of the cellular dynamics of inflammatory disease and the regulation of immune function.

2021 Awardees

PIs: Thomas Cuicci, PhD and Juilee Thakar, PhD (University of Rochester)
Title: Decipher the niche-specific gene program of pathogen-responsive T cells using spatial transcriptomic approaches
Goal: Using spatial transcriptomics on tissue sections, we propose to spatially map immune responses and identify the signals mediating the interaction between pathogen-specific CD4+ T cells and other immune and non-immune cells in tissues.

PI: Brian Rudd, PhD (Cornell)
Title: Imaging the developmental layers of T cells in the lymph node
Goal: The goal of this pilot project is to combine the immunological models in the Rudd lab, the imaging experience in the Fowell lab, and the technological tools in the Xu lab to understand how the ontogeny of T cells is linked to their location and dynamics in the lymph nodes during infection. Our hypothesis is that fetal-derived cells are the first to respond to infection in adulthood either (a) because they are optimally positioned in the lymph node prior to infection, or (b) because they are better at ‘hunting’ antigen-presenting cells in the lymph node during early stages of infection.

2017 Awardees

PI: Nozomi Nishimura, PhD (Cornell)
Title: Hyperspectral multiphoton microscopy as platform for multicellular imaging in vivo
Goal: To enable hyperspectral microscopy to transition from a prototype to a data-generating system for immunologists.

PI: Patrick Oakes, PhD (Rochester)
Title: Physical Cues on the Extracellular Environment Steer Leukocyte Migration
Goal: This proposal aims to identify the physical and mechanical interactions with the extracellular environment that direct neutrophil and T cell migration during an immune response.