The Department of Biophysics of Immune System is focused on molecular mechanisms regulating complex immune responses under both physiological and disease states including inflammation, infection and tissue injury.
Deregulation of immune response is the underlying cause precipitating the development of a wide range of pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and many others. Therefore, improving understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the development of these pathological processes and the effects of external factors that cause deregulation of these mechanisms will lead to development of new therapeutic strategies to treat these maladies. In collaboration with medicinal chemists and pharmacological companies, we evaluate novel potential therapeutic targets and newly designed compounds to bring about improvements to therapy in the context of human disease.
Enabling us to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that regulate function, fate and the interaction of immune cells, we utilize all basic methods of biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, biophysical methodological tools, and rely heavily on state-of-the-art proteomics and genomics. We use cell cultures and also primary immune cells isolated from healthy donors. To model pathological processes in vivo, we continue to employ a wide range of mouse models, including mice colonies with target gene modification. As required, primary patient samples are obtained in cooperation with the Faculty Hospital Brno. Whether alone or in collaboration, we are trying to take advantage of data validation in vivo where possible, having incorporated mouse experimental models to our repertoire, housed in our on-site animal facility at IBP.
Mutually interconnected research topics are currently evaluated as follows:
Pathophysiology of free radicals
Mechanisms and regulation of the formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in the course of immune reaction.
Natural and pharmacological prevention of oxidative stress related pathological processes.
Antioxidant properties of food constituents and supplements.
Mutual interactions of phagocytes with other cell types and components of extracellular matrix.
Key methods: Luminophore Amplified Chemiluminescence, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, Nitric Oxide Analyzer, Nitric Oxide Electrode
Epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of immune cell functions
The effects of environmental factors on epigenetic changes in immune cells are studied. Special attention is paid to post-translational modifications of histone proteins. Especially, the role of histone protein citrullination in chromatin decondensation and altered gene expression is monitored.
Key methods: Western Blot, Confocal Microscopy, Luminescence
Molecular and cellular mechanisms in the immunomodulatory functions of environmental pollutants
Key methods: Separation on Density Gradient Ultracentrifugation
Development of new drugs to regulate immune response
The goal is to specifically target particular signaling mechanisms based on their role in selected inflammation mediated diseases. Currently we are evaluating the potential of a drug based on forskolin and pseurotin pharmacophore structures.
Key methods: FRET, confocal microscopy
Importance of immune cell derived extracellular vesicles in epigenetic regulations
Our aim is to characterize the role of neutrophil-derived extracellular vesicles, important immuno-regulatory mediators, in the pathogenesis of inflammation-related diseases.
Key methods: Separation on Density Gradients Ultracentrifugation
Organic electronics in biological applications
In addition to exploring fundamental aspects of the interaction of cells with organic conductive materials, we are developing a range of acute cardiotoxicity sensors and next generation electro-stimulators.
Key methods: Organic Semiconductor Processing, Sensors, Actuators, Biocompatibility Determination and Manipulation
Using in vitro fluidic models, we focus on the fundamentals of vasculature inflammation aiming to determine the biochemical aspects of ischemic stroke treatment.
Key methods: Fluidic Models, Microfluidic Devices, Microscopy, Biochemical Analysis, Analysis of Thrombolysis