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Stretching of a neutrophil membrane with an laser trap (centered at the 'x'). The laser is made invisible in this image with an optical filter.

One important step in inflammation is the activation of neutrophils to chase and eat (phagocytose) invading bacteria. In collaboration with the Waugh lab, we are looking at the mechanisms of neutrophil motility using a variety of tools in optical microscopy. In one tool, optical tweezers, the focus of a laser beam creates a potential which can be used to manipulate microscopic objects.