Microcirculation Research Group

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Group leader: Dr Neena Kalia

Overview

We specialise in imaging microcirculatory events in a number of diseased and healthy organs using a technique called intravital microscopy.  Our research focuses on identifying inflammatory disturbances, vasculoprotective mechanisms and stem cell homing.  Experimental models of ischaemia-reperfusion injury, acute renal injury, colitis and chronic liver disease are routinely utilised.

Our research group

Our research is focussed on identifying the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, particularly the microvascular disturbances involved and the role of inflammatory neutrophils, platelets and lymphocytes. Furthermore we are developing strategies, particularly the use of adult bone marrow derived stem cells, that may be of therapeutic benefit following I/R injury.  Haematopoietic (HSC) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can migrate to injured tissues and help in tissue repair.  However, the events that govern their recruitment to injured tissue microcirculation in vivo, and whether their local tissue presence following systemic transplantation can be enhanced, are unclear.  

Our research focuses on examining the molecular adhesive events involved in HSC or MSC recruitment to different vascular beds following injury, including the liver, gut, kidney and cremaster muscle.  The vasculoprotective effects mediated by stem cells within the local inflamed microcirculation are also determined. The cross-talk between different circulating cell populations, particularly with platelets, is also being directly monitored using animal models of thrombosis e.g., laser induced injury. Inflammatory and stem cell trafficking is monitored predominantly by state-of-the-art confocal based intravital microscopy which allows real-time and dynamic microcirculatory images to be captured in vivo. This technique allows numerous microcirculatory disturbances to be quantified, including the various events of the adhesion cascade (rolling/adhesion/transmigration) and also changes in vascular integrity.

Image relating to Microcirculation Research Group

Endogenous labelled neutrophils (left; blue) and platelet microthrombi (right; red) adherent within the renal peri-tubular capillaries following acute renal injury.  Stem cell therapy is currently being developed by our group that can protect the renal microcirculation from these vascular disturbances.

Current Projects

  • Stem cell (HSC and MSC) trafficking through injured organs in vivo
  • Vasculoprotective effects of stem cells (HSCs and MSCs) in vivo
  • The contributory role of platelets and lymphocytes to the pathophysiology of IR injury

Recent Publications

For full publication lists see:

Staff

Principal Investigator
Dr Neena Kalia - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine                    

Postdoctoral Researchers
Dean Kavanagh - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine

PhD Students
Adam Boulton
Joseph Robinson
Rebecca White
Adrian Yemm

Internal Collaborators
Prof David Adams - School of Immunity and Infection
Prof Chris Buckley - School of Immunity and Infection
Dr Trish Lalor - School of Immunity and Infection
Prof Gerard Nash - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Dr Phil Newsome - School of Immunity and Infection
Prof Ed Rainger - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Prof Steve Watson - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine

NHS Collaborators
Dr Lorraine Harper - University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, UK
Dr Stuart Smith - University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, UK

External Collaborators
Prof Stuart Egginton - University of Leeds
Prof Jim Middleton - University of Bristol
Prof Caroline Savage – Vice-President and Head Experimental Medicine Unit, GlaxoSmithKline