Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., have begun imaging-based studies in the context of an immunological research project. The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the University of California, San Francisco, are cooperating with Sandia on the Microscale Immune Studies Laboratory Grand Challenge. In the current investigation, the scientists will seek to elucidate the response of individual immune cells — rather than large populations of cells — to pathogens in the first minutes and hours of exposure. To accomplish this, the team will employ a platform with two complementary microfluidic modules. The first module traps and images cells while they are stimulated by pathogens. The other prepares, selects and sorts cells, then examines their protein content using hyperspectral fluorescence imaging with multivariate curve resolution. The investigators aim to conduct 3-D quantitative analysis of 10 to 40 proteins and cellular strains at a time with the system. Computer modeling will be used to develop network models from the experimental data. The results may be used to find better ways to diagnose disease and to develop improved thera-pies. The project is in its second of three years of funding by Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.