BME Seminar Series: Timothy P. Padera, Ph.D.
Lymphatic Physiology in Health and Disease
Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
In normal physiology, the lymphatic system removes fluid and proteins from the interstitium and returns them to the blood. This allows tissue to remain at constant interstitial fluid and oncotic pressure. The lymphatic system also carries white blood cells and other antigen presenting cells from the tissue to lymph nodes where surveillance for foreign antigen can take place. Thus, lymphatics are important in maintaining both tissue fluid homeostasis and proper function of the immune system. Predictably, disruptions of the lymphatic system lead to lymphedema and form conditions for chronic infections. To study the lymphatic system, we have developed animal models which allow intravital optical imaging of lymphatic structure and function. We will discuss how lymphatics function under normal conditions as well as their molecular regulation during states of inflammation. Additionally, we will discuss how cancer uses the lymphatic system to spread and identify some molecular players that mediate this process.