Research projects

Our approach

Our holistic approach targets both the cancer cell and the extrinsic environment in which the cancer cell resides. We view the interactions between the cancer cells and the stromal cells, extracellular matrix (ECM) and immune cells in the context of a dynamic ecosystem which will only yield meaningful insights when examined through the lens of both cancer and immunology at the same time. There is a demand to explore cellular dynamics in cancer cell niches in vivo in real-time. This drives our technological need to build new microscopes such as the NICHEscopes and the probes and reporters that make deep tissue imaging possible.


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Our technology

Our team has pioneered the development of intravital imaging technology – a microscope with the ability to look directly into living tissues in real-time – which offers the exciting prospect of studying the complex cancer–immune cell ecosystem in toto for the first time.

We aim to build the next generation of intravital two-photon microscopes explicitly designed to image cancer-immune cell interactions in their native microenvironment – the NICHEscopes. We have designed different and complementary types of NICHEscopes to achieve two specific objectives. The core NICHEscope technologies are a revolutionary Raster Adaptive Optics (RAO) module and a Leica deep in vivo explorer microscope with fast fluorescence lifetime imaging technology. Together, these two bespoke next-generation NICHEscopes will enable multimodal, multiscale imaging of deep tissues that has not been possible until now.

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Virtual Lab Environment 

In addition to fitting out a dedicated dry lab image analysis room in the INCITe Centre we will establish a virtual lab environment for real-time data sharing and training. This will involve linking workstations loaded with Imaris analysis software licenses at the Garvan Institute and our partner organisations. In addition, we will establish a dedicated Zoom meeting room and investigate the use of augmented reality technologies for remote operation of microscopes.

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Two research areas we will be exploring:

A/Prof Marina Pajic – Immunotherapy for all cancer video:

Prof Peter Croucher – Immunotherapy for all cancer video