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Philipp Niethammer: Overview

Currently, we utilize zebrafish as our main experimental model for two main reasons: Firstly, the zebrafish immune system closely resembles that of mammals. Secondly, the translucency of zebrafish larvae allows us to observe rapid inflammatory responses to tissue injury or infection in real-time within the intact organism. Using this powerful imaging approach, we have discovered two important mechanisms that rapidly alert leukocytes to epithelial injury sites, i.e., chemical signaling reactive oxygen species production and biomechanical signaling through inflammatory signaling enzymes that sense nuclear membrane stretch. We are exploring these novel mechanisms in more detail, and seek to discover further key regulators of the early inflammatory response.

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