Research Group of Dr Sergio Grinstein, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute

Research Group of Dr Sergio Grinstein, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute

Dr Sergio Grinstein is a senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto. He holds the Pitblado Chair in Cell Biology at The Hospital for Sick Children and is professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He is internationally recognized for his research in two areas: the control of intracellular pH and the elucidation of mechanisms underlying the microbicidal response of macrophages and neutrophils.

Sergio’s group studies two different topics. One topic deals with the regulation of ion transport and pH of intracellular compartments and the researchers have devised a means of measuring the pH and ionic composition of individual organelles within intact live cells. They are currently investigating the identity and properties of the molecules responsible for transport of ions and for intracellular acid/base regulation. The role of Na/H exchangers has been the focus of much of this effort.

Many of imaging systems in the Imaging Facility at Sick Kids have been supplied and are supported by Quorum Technologies Inc., our valued Improvision partner in Canada.   Highly experienced in scientific imaging, Quorum Technologies Inc. is based in Guelph, Ontario and provides a first class sales and support service for all our Canadian customers.

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The second area of interest relates to the interaction between the innate immune system and invading microorganisms. The group study the molecular mechanisms utilized by white blood cells to eliminate infectious organisms and more specifically the processes whereby macrophages and neutrophils migrate to sites of infection, ingest microbes and destroy them. Related studies investigate how some bacteria evade the immune response, managing to reside within the host as intracellular pathogens.

Sergio completed his PhD in 1976 at the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios Avanzados in Mexico City. He then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in Cell Biology at Sick Kids, followed by a year in the Department of Biochemistry at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He has been an International Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Distinguished Scientist Award, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

The Hospital for Sick Children has an impressive Imaging Facility which provides a full range of imaging solutions for life sciences research. Scientists have access to the latest technologies in biological imaging including two Wave FX Spinning Disk Confocal systems developed by Quorum Technologies and driven by Volocity software, and a large Improvision License Server (ILS), currently configured with 20 Volocity licenses and seven Openlab licenses. In his own laboratory Sergio also has two Volocity systems and two more Quorum Wave FX Spinning Disk Confocal systems with Volocity.

Sergio says “Of all the sources of software that we have tested, the Improvision package has proven to be the most powerful, reliable and user-friendly. We required this combination of features in our multi-user facility, which hosts over 400 students, fellows and technicians from nearly 100 different laboratories with different backgrounds. For the work done in my own laboratory the Volocity software has made multiparameter acquisition flexible, storage and archiving very manageable, and analysis very complete and well integrated”

Please visit Sergio's website for further information about his work.


Fig 1: The image is a 3D reconstruction of a confluent layer of MDCK-II cells stably expressing the epithelial sodium proton exchanger, NHE3, tagged with an HA-epitope. The exchanger was labeled with Cy3 (red) and ezrin with Alexa Fluor 488 (green). The actin cytoskeleton has been stained with Alexa Fluor 633 phalloidin (blue). The image has been rotated and tilted to better appreciate the apical surface. A "bite" has been electronically taken out of the image to display the Z-axis through the centre of the sample.


Fig. 2: Immunofluorescence of human primary macrophages stained for F-actin using Alexa Fluor488-phalloidin (green), for DNA using DAPI (light blue) and for CD9 using an mouse anti-human CD9 primary antibody followed by a donkey anti-mouse Cy3-labeled secondary. CD9 is a member of the tetraspanin family.