Björn F. Lillemeier is an associate professor in the Nomis Center for Immunobiology and Microbial Pathogenesis and the Waitt Advanced Biophotonics Center. He studies the complex architecture of the plasma membrane in general as well as its contribution to signal transduction in T cells. His laboratory uses advanced imaging techniques, e.g. photo-activated localization microscopy (PALM) and dual color fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy (dcFCCS), to study the spatiao-temporal distributions and dynamics of membrane-associated molecules on a nanometer scale.
Following my studies at Miami University of Ohio and a short stint in cardiac research at the U. of Cincinnati College of Medicine, the sun, sand and family lured me to San Diego and the Salk for Neuroendocrine research. This led me to a brief stint in Immunology followed by Virology and finally back to the fascinating and complex field of Immunology, specifically T-cell signaling. As microscopy is the main tool of our research, I have become the lab “ripper” of cell membranes for EM staining of membrane bound receptors and associated proteins involved in T-cell signalling (the TCR CD3zeta, Zap70 and LAT.) In my spare time, I like to bake (especially with chocolate), check out the latest films and spend time with my nephews.
Dr. Hu develops novel techniques to manipulate and resolve light in the region below the diffraction limit of light. His utilizes engineering approaches in nanophotonics and single-molecule super-resolution microscopy to investigate the nanometer-scale nuclear and membrane structures at the single cell and single molecule level. His current research investigates the spatial relationships between T cell receptors and co-receptors on the plasma membrane of T cells during activation. Dr. Hu was a postdoctoral fellow supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine 2012-15. He received Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Rice University (Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellow 2008-2011), and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston (summa cum laude, 2006).
I studied biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia under the mentorship of Brian Helmke. My thesis focused on the anti-inflammatory applications of soy metabolites on endothelium exposed to turbulent shear stress. I completed my Ph.D. in the spring of 2013 at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the laboratory of Robert H. Singer. I utilized single molecule imaging to identify how mRNAs localized to the leading edge of migrating cells and enhanced focal adhesion stability to institute directionality. I am applying similar high resolution light microscopy techniques to elucidate the initial signaling events during T-cell activation upon antigen recognition. Outside the lab I enjoy trail running, the occasional art project, and tasty beers. I also ensure the lab has groovy tunes playing at all times.
I am currently studying how altering the activity of TCR signaling molecules can affect anti-tumor T cell responses. I received my PhD in cell and molecular biology in 2017 from Michigan State University for my research investigating how a common retrovirus in cattle affected their immune health. I also received a BS in human biology from the University of California, San Diego. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my dog in the sunshine and eating to excess.
Research Assistant I
While his past research ventures have included stints in analytical biochemistry and inorganic synthesis, Riley now performs as a protein chemist for the Lillemeier group. Riley grew up internationally, but moved back to California to attend UC Santa Barbara (B.S., 2017). He hopes to continue to develop his skills as a biochemist at the Salk Institute, before continuing on to a graduate program in analytical biochemistry. When not in the lab, Riley likes to spend his time surfing, climbing, and backpacking.