Magnetically Manipulating the Immunological Synapse

Master’s assignment


Immunological Synapse is the interface between a lymphocyte and antigen presenting cell where the secrets of immunity are hidden within. This interface is where the antigen presenting cell displays foreign molecules to the T cells that scan through and –if needed– initiate immune response. To understand the mechanisms of immunological synapse would give us the ability to control or initiate immune response. In order to facilitate the study this highly complex interface, we need model systems.

This study proposes a model that mimics the surface of antigen presenting cell against the T-Cell and it consists of adhesion molecules and freely moving magnetic nanoparticles adhered to a supported lipid bilayer. Antibodies immobilized on the nanoparticles allow triggering the cell for activation. Movement of these nanoparticles can be manipulated using magnetic field, allowing us to tailor the distribution of cell receptors which is critically important for cell activation . Fluorescence microscopy allows us to follow the beads and signals of activation on the T cell.

You will do


Embedding adhesion molecules and nanoparticles to the lipid bilayer, mimicking antigen presenting cell against T-Cell.


Functionalizing nanoparticles with antibodies.


Tracking and manipulating movement of nanoparticles on the lipid bilayer and cells.

You will learn


Fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching(FRAP)


Single molecule imaging and particle tracking


Cell culturing

More information

Students interested in a chance to work on the interface of physics and biology with this master assignment can contact:

Burcu Çelikkol
Room: Zuidhorst ZH 165