email facebook twitter vimeo linkedin email facebook twitter instagram vimeo linkedin

WBC Extraction ==> T-Cell Isolation

Symbiotica Lab Research and Experiments

The compromised immune system caused by the immunosuppressant drugs in order to prevent rejection form a complex alteration of the sense of self the impacts on both  the physical and psychological well being of the patient.This can be seen as integral to the at times vexed experience of transplant patients. I will be attempting to isolate and document my own T-cells  to create a “self portrait” of my own “immune signature”as the philosopher Jean Luc Nancy states in his essay L’Intrus.  The moving and still images of the isolated T-Cells will be transformed into digital compositions and animations providing  a visual context of my own immune system.

Supervison: Dr Stuart Hodgetts and Guy Ben-Ary

The purpose of this research and practical biology lab experiment is to isolate and identify the T-Cells in my blood stream. The immuno suppressant drug Cyclorporine prevents organ rejection by inhibiting calcineurin and the production of interleukin2 which activates and instructs the T-cells to attack the grafted organ as it does with any virus or other foreign body and cause a rejection.

The whole blood sample is separated by first diluting then layering over a density gradient(Ficoll) and the placed in a centrifuge. The RBC,WBC and Plasma are then separated into layers. The WBC(lymphocyte) layer is then extracted.  Lymphocytes come in many shapes and sizes and include T-Cells and B Cells. T-cells can be isolated using a T-cell separation kit.The T- cells will then be documented using microscopic video and still images. Cells can be observed under phase contrast, or live imaging over time (follow them die over time without being fed nutrients) or by using an antibody for  fluorescence work. A primary  antibody (ie rabbit Ig to Human MHC molecules)  is required with a secondary antibody (e.g. Goat anti-rabbit Ig with fluorescent conjugate) which recognises the first MHC antibody.  An alternative T cell specific antibody other than MHC, may also be of use which means the type of label you see under the microscope will be the same – just means that if you choose MHC you would need to choose class 1 or Class 2 molecules – each recognise different types of white blood cell, so not all the cells in the prep will be labelled.


Blood and the cells it contains.

HLA gene family and the major histocompatability complex (MHC )


Protocols for isolation of white blood cells