_MEDICINE

Atlas of Human Anatomy
This map of the “geography of the human body” helps researchers and clinicians better understand how the immune system works and how infections are controlled throughout the body.

_Uri Hershberg

Hershberg is an associate professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems.

Computational biologists have helped to create the first “anatomic atlas” of B-cell clone lineages, their properties and tissue connections.

The researchers revealed that the population of B-cells are split into two broad networks within the body. One spans the blood, bone marrow, spleen and lung, while the other is found in the gastrointestinal tract. This atlas of B-cell tissue distribution will be a resource for researchers and clinicians.

“The geography of the human body is important for how the immune system works, with B-cells operating differently depending on where they are located,” says Uri Hershberg, an associate professor in Drexel’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems who collaborated on a report in Nature Biotechnology with Eline T. Luning Prak, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

B-cells are key players in the body’s protective immunity. When an infection is present, these cells clone themselves to fight the invader.

The tissue distribution and trafficking of these cells from the same clone are essential to understand, since these processes influence how infections are controlled in the body. The researchers’ findings may help identify tissue-specific markers for B-cells, Hershberg says.