Direction 1. Development and function of tissue-resident macrophages
Macrophages are highly dynamic and widespread blood cells that play many important functions in vertebrates. They are the main phagocytes throughout the body, responsible for clearing away dying cells, damaged tissue, and pathogens, to maintain tissue integrity. Macrophages circulate in the bloodstream as monocytes or are stationed in strategic locations of the body as tissue macrophages where their phagocytic roles are critical, such as microglia in the brain, Kupffer cells in the liver, Langerhans cells in the skin, and osteoclasts in the bone. Overall, the developmental process by which macrophages take residence and differentiate into tissue macrophages remains poorly understood. We are currently investigating the transcriptional and cellular regulation underpinning the differentiation of the diverse tissue macrophages.