Biomedical Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2019


To become activated and perform effector functions, naive T cells move within lymph nodes to scan dendritic cells presenting antigen. Previous work has shown naive T cell activation is promoted by interleukin 7 in vivo, and it does so by regulating the T cell:dendritic cell interaction. Our work identifies a novel role for IL-7 in mediating naive T cell motility in the lymph node and promoting T cell association with DCs. Additionally, we have developed a method for analyzing microscopy images, regionalized normalized mutual information, to assess intercellular associations between T cells and other cells within the lymph node. Dendritic cells and stromal cells are thought to be positioned optimally within the T cell zone of the lymph node to increase the probability of T cells interacting with dendritic cells. We find that T cells are less associated with dendritic cells and more associated with stromal cells in the lymph node. Our data demonstrate a new function of IL-7 in naive T cells and quantify the relationship between naive T cell positioning relative to localization of stromal cells, dendritic cells, and blood vessels.


T cell motility, immunology, cell motion, intracellular signaling

Document Type




Degree Name

Biomedical Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

First Committee Member (Chair)

Judy L. Cannon

Second Committee Member

Melanie Moses

Third Committee Member

Aaron Neumann

Fourth Committee Member

Angela Wandinger-Ness