The Moseman Lab
Our lab explores host:pathogen interactions within the CNS and olfactory epithelium. Unlike classical mucosal surfaces in the gut, lower respiratory tract, and urogenital tract, the olfactory neuroepithelial barrier is uniquely dedicated to neuronal function. Olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) contact the external environment to perform their chemosensory functions (smelling), but they also link directly into the CNS. Anatomically, this means that each OSN connects the outside environment with the CNS, and pathogens that are able to move within or along OSNs can bypass typical CNS barriers. Our lab seeks to define the mechanisms by which immunological surveillance and the immune response within the olfactory epithelium is tailored to support both barrier and neurosensory functions while warding off neurotropic pathogens, as well as understanding how the CNS responds to infections when these barrier functions fail.
We are strong believers that visualizing cellular behavior in vivo can guide mechanistic discovery. To this end, we utilize in vivo experiments as much as possible, including multi-photon intravital imaging to analyze the coordinated CNS immune response to pathogens within the living animal. Observing immune cell interactions with glial and neuronal cells has helped determine how these responses are tailored to the CNS environment. Intravital imaging has allowed us to observe dynamic in vivo antigen engagement by T cell subsets during viral infection as well as innate immune responses to Naegleria fowleri infection.