Super-resolution imaging of human LSECs in 3D culture and organ slices

Project 14 - Karolina Szafranska

University of Tromsø - The Arctic University of Norway


(1) Optimisation of endothelial tube formation in 3D cell culture

(2) SR-SIM imaging of living LSECs forming endothelial tubes

(3) optimization of staining and SR-SIM imaging of living endothelial tubes, correlation to perfused liver slices in perfusion chambers

(4) SR-SIM and multifocal 2-photon SR-SIM imaging of endothelial cell interactions with small molecules and NPs in perfused sinusoids

Expected Results:

(1) Local supply of human LSECs established

(2) imaging of the 3D structure of LSECs in tubes and 3D cell culture in vitro completed

(3) high speed SR-SIM of human LSEC dynamics in 3D cell culture established

(4) SR-SIM imaging of interactions of small molecules and nanoparticles with LSECs in perfused sinusoids performed


Project Lead:
Prof. Peter McCourt

Early Stage Researcher:
Karolina Szafranska

Karolina Szafranska is a 26 year old Polish research student who moved to the Arctic to follow her dream of studying liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs).  Karolina has been a PhD student at the University of Tromsø (UiT) since February 2018, working as an Early Stage Researcher in the Vascular Biology Research Group to study the effects of chemical compounds on LSECs.

Karolina has Bachelor and Master degrees in Biophysics from the Jagiellonian University in Poland, where she focused on the application of atomic force microscopy to study the dynamics of the liver sieve on fenestrated liver endothelial cells. These results are published and presented at the 19th Liver Sinusoid Meeting in Galway, where Karolina has met her new scientific family from Tromsø. Since then, she is using her previous experience in combination with the long tradition of LSEC study and novel nanoscopy techniques at UiT.

In her free time, Karolina enjoys life in the Arctic, skiing, cycling, removing snow from her driveway and developing Stockholm syndrome with the one and only (local) radio station.

Karolina’s project as Early Stage Researcher in the DeLiver ITN has two main topics. The first part focuses on the development of co-culture of liver cells to create small, artificial livers in in vitro conditions. The second part is about studying effects of various drugs, substances or nanoparticles on liver endothelial cells. Combined knowledge from both parts of the project will hopefully lead to the development of a system for in vitro drug testing prior to human/animal trials.