Ahmed’s project focuses on dissecting the host-pathogen interactions in TB with an emphasis on the cell biology of immune cells called phagocytes. These versatile immune cells are the primary host cells of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: the causative agent of human TB. Like many infectious diseases, despite manifesting primarily in lung tissue, the immunology of human TB has been studied almost exclusively in the blood. Our understanding of the dynamic relationship between host and mycobacteria in the lung itself come from animal models. To address this gap, Ahmed will make use of a cutting-edge technology known as bioelectrospraying. This powerful technique enables the generation of a 3D cell culture model of TB, thereby presenting a more accurate view of events at the site of infection in the lung. Essentially the 3D model consists of a microsphere containing infected phagocytes and collagen, an important structural component of lung tissue. The widely used 2D culture models are limited insofar they fail to capture the spatial organisation of the lung and neglect to incorporate important factors which regulate inflammation. In addition, the system allows for readouts of multiple parameters, such as bacterial growth and immune cell activation. With this model, we have a very potent tool at our disposal to study the immunology of TB more holistically. Together with the AHRI’s unique access to human lung tissue, he has high expectations for this project.