Craig T. LefortAssistant Professor of Surgery (Research)
Dr. Lefort is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Brown University Medical School. He received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University in 2001 and his Ph.D. in the same field from the University of Rochester in 2007. He completed postdoctoral work in Immunology at the University of Rochester and at La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology.
During infection or injury, white blood cells (leukocytes) must exit from the circulation to reach sites in the tissue where they are needed to mount an immune response. The recruitment of leukocytes occurs by a cascade of interactions with the endothelial cell lining of the blood vessel wall that precedes their migration into the tissue. We use biophysical and molecular engineering methods to dissect the mechanisms of leukocyte capture, rolling, arrest, adhesion stabilization and intravascular migration.
My research group studies the molecular mechanisms of integrin activation in leukocytes. Integrins are a family of cell surface adhesion and signaling receptors that guide the trafficking of leukocytes during inflammation and the immune response. Intracellular proteins regulate the global structure of integrins and thus modulate their affinity for ligands expressed on the endothelial lining of blood vessels and within tissues. Our lab employs intravital imaging (in vivo video microscopy) to observe the inflammatory response within the living tissue as it is occuring. We also employ microfluidic flow chambers to quantify leukocyte behavior (rolling, adhesion and migration) on defined substrates.
American Heart Association, Scientist Development Grant, 2012-2016