Christopher Allen, PhD
My laboratory is interested in the cellular communication and differentiation programs in allergic immune responses, particularly in asthma. My laboratory is applying sophisticated imaging, flow cytometry, mouse genetics, and other techniques to uncover novel paradigms underlying allergic inflammation. As a major area of emphasis, we are studying the generation and function of IgE antibodies that initiate allergic inflammation. We recently generated fluorescent IgE reporter mice allowing us to identify and track rare IgE-producing B cells in vivo. We are imaging the lungs and associated lymphoid tissues by two-photon laser scanning microscopy to directly visualize cellular interactions in situ. Using this approach, we achieved the first in vivo analysis of the interactions of CD4 T cells with basophils, which are rare IgE effector cells. We are now analyzing the interactions of basophils with other cell types during secondary immune responses to further elucidate the functions of these cells. More broadly, we are considering the combined cellular interactions among various types of inflammatory cells in the lungs in mouse models of asthma.