Crystal Ribcage: a Platform for Probing Real-Time Lung Function at Cellular Resolution in Health and Disease
Hadi T. Nia, Boston University
3:30 p.m., November 28, 2023 | B001 Geddes Hall
Understanding the dynamic pathogenesis and treatment response in pulmonary diseases requires probing the lung at cellular resolution in real-time. Despite recent progress in intravital imaging, optical imaging of the lung during active respiration and circulation has remained challenging. Here, we introduce the crystal ribcage: a transparent ribcage that (i) allows truly multiscale optical imaging of the lung in health and disease from whole-organ to single cell, (ii) enables the modulation of lung biophysics and immunity through intravascular, intrapulmonary, intraparenchymal, and optogenetic interventions, and (iii) preserves the 3-D architecture, air-liquid interface, cellular diversity, and respiratory-circulatory functions of the lung.
Utilizing these unprecedented capabilities on murine models of primary and metastatic lung tumors, respiratory infection, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and acute lung injury we probed how disease progression remodels the respiratory-circulatory functions at the single alveolus and capillary levels.
In cancer, we identified the earliest stage of tumorigenesis that compromises alveolar and capillary functions, a key state with consequences on tumor progression and treatment response. In pneumonia, we mapped mutual links between the recruited immune cells and the alveolar-capillary functions. We found that neutrophil migration is strongly and reversibly responsive to vascular pressure with implications for understanding of how lung physiology, altered by disease and anatomical location, affects immune cell activities. The crystal ribcage and its broad applications presented here will facilitate further studies of real-time remodeling of the alveoli and capillaries during pathogenesis of nearly any pulmonary disease, leading to the identification of new targets for treatment strategies.
Hadi T. Nia is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. He received his B.Sc. from Sharif University of Technology and did his doctoral training at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the supervision of Drs. Alan Grodzinsky and Christine Ortiz. He then moved to Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, for his post-doctoral training under the mentorship of Dr. Rakesh Jain where he studied the tumor microenvironment with a focus on the physical hallmarks of cancer.
Hadi’s current research include developing novel models and tools for imaging the lung in real-time and at the cellular resolution to probe the links between the lung physics, biology, and immunity in health and disease. Hadi has received multiple awards for his research including NIH Director’s New Innovator, NSF CAREER, Beckman Young Investigator, and NIBIB Trailblazer awards.