Natalie studies the three dimensional shape of proteins and is interested in how two immune systems’ proteins interact with one another to generate an immune response. One of the proteins, surveys our cells for foreign lipid fragments, captures them and takes them to the cells surface. Natural killer T cells scan the lipid fragments that have been captured by CD1d to determine whether the fragments belong to the body.
Natalie’s research has enabled the first visualisation of the interaction of a Natural killer T cell with a lipid fragment captured by CD1d. Combined with a thorough functional analysis this data has greatly enhanced our understanding of our immune response to infection.