We use many different techniques to answer the research questions we are interested in. Click on the pictures to find out more. Do contact us if you want to collaborate.
Our in vivo infection model uses bites by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (picture: larvae stadium), which are major contributors to viral transmission worldwide. We use special needles to inject minuscule amounts (1ul or less) of virus produced in insect cells to mimic natural infection as close as possible.
The University of Leeds has extensive expertise with various types of advanced imaging. Thanks to our collaborator Andres Merits (University of Tartu, Estonia) we have a large collection of viruses with genetic markers such as GFP and mCherry. In this example cells were infected with a SFV expressing eGFP (green dots) early in infection, and mCherry (red) late during infection.
Our team has a lot of experience with qPCR to determine the expression of both viral and mammalian genes. In addition, we have developed an assay to determine + and - strand viral RNA, enabling us to follow viral replication in great detail..
Using viruses that express luciferase we are able to visualise viral replication in vivo. This allows us to track viral dissemination over time in the same animal, providing more information whilst reducing the number of animals.
We use this classic virological assay to determine the amount of infectious virus in our virus stocks, monitor viral production in in vitro assays and determine viraemia.
Skin of ears bitten by mosquitoes was stained with hematoxylin and eosin to visualise influx of neutrophils.
We use flow cytometry to determine which cells are infected by SFV and characterise cell migration by digestion of tissues including skin, lymph nodes and the spleen.
We use customised Taqman-Low Density Arrays (TLDA) to analyse mRNA expression of many innate immune genes in tissues such as skin and the draining lymph node.
This picture summarizes migration of dendritic cells towards the chemokine CCL21 in a cell chamber, done by master student Lucie Poncelet. Using this in vitro assay we can study the impact of viral infection on the migratory capacity of specific cell types.