Cytoskeleton of individual B cells (cyan) interacting with foreign antigens (red).

Pavel Tolar : Immune Receptor Activation Laboratory

Our lab follows B cells, white blood cells that help protect against infection, to find new ideas for vaccines and therapies.

B cells are white blood cells that roam the body ready to react if they brush up against something harmful. They make the antibodies that protect our bodies from viral or bacterial infection.

When a B cells spots a pathogen, it is triggered to multiply in order to produce enough antibody to render the invader harmless.

Our lab looks closely at every aspect of B cell triggering, so how B cells recognise invaders, how they talk to other immune system cells and how they choose which B cells from the pool of early cells are recruited to deal with infection.

Antibodies made by B cells are what help vaccines work. Many pathogens are good at changing their appearance so that the vaccine memory in B cells fails to recognise them.

Sometimes B cell signals go wrong and set off a destructive response from the immune system that can lead to disease or even cancer.

Our lab is working on new ways to capture images of B cells in action so that we can learn more about how they work and share this knowledge to develop new vaccines and therapies.