Filip Swirski's Lab



Leukocytes are keepers of the immune system. Heterogeneous and functionally specialized, leukocytes maintain host integrity and defend against dangerous and infectious agents. As primarily motile and migratory, leukocytes can influence each other across distant and diverse environments. These interactions are the basis of immunity; collectively, they represent a leukocyte 'interactome'. The primary goal of the lab is to identify and elucidate how leukocyte communication shapes the course of disease. We ask: What are the spatial, ontogenic, and functional relationships between leukocyte subsets in health and disease? What are the environmental and internal cues that control the balance between leukocyte commitment and plasticity? How is hierarchy maintained in a heteroarchical system?


The immune system is essential to survival, but it can also inflict damage. We are an immunology lab that investigates basic processs of innate immunity in the context of cardiovascular and infectious diseases. We interact closely with members of the Immunology Program at the Center for Systems Biology who investigate a range of other acute and chronic diseases.


Experiments utilize state-of-the-art animal models, classical cell biology tools, molecular profiling, and in vivo molecular imaging technologies that interrogate cell biology at multiple resolutions, from the whole animal to a single cell. Please inquire about availability.

Recent Publications (more...)

Hilgendorf I, Gerhardt L, Tan TC, Winter C, Holderried TA, Chousterman BG, Iwamoto Y, Liao R, Zirlik A, Scherrer-Crosbie M, Hedrick CC, Libby P, Nahrendorf M, Weissleder R, Swirski FK
Ly-6Chigh Monocytes Depend on Nr4a1 to Balance both Inflammatory and Reparative Phases in the Infarcted Myocardium.
Circ Res. 2014;:ePub - PMID: 24625784
Nahrendorf M, Swirski FK
Fluorescent leukocytes enter plaque on the microscope stage.
Circ Res. 2014;114(5):740-1 - PMID: 24577957 - PMCID: PMC3957183
Hilgendorf I, Theurl I, Gerhardt LM, Robbins CS, Weber GF, Gonen A, Iwamoto Y, Degousee N, Holderried TA, Winter C, Zirlik A, Lin HY, Sukhova GK, Butany J, Rubin BB, Witztum JL, Libby P, Nahrendorf M, Weissleder R, Swirski FK
Innate Response Activator B Cells Aggravate Atherosclerosis by Stimulating TH1 Adaptive Immunity.
Circulation. 2014;:ePub - PMID: 24488984
Pittet MJ, Nahrendorf M, Swirski FK
The journey from stem cell to macrophage.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014;:ePub - PMID: 24673186

Recent News (more...)

2014-03-26: Filip Swirski, PhD, is the recipient of the 2014 MGH Howard Goodman Fellowship. This highly competitive $300,000 award is intended "to support the pursuit of excellence by young scientists of uncommon passion and ability". Congratulations Fil!
2013-12-12: "Macrophage Accumulation in Atherosclerosis", a commentary on the recent Nature Medicine paper from the Swirski lab, appears in The New England Journal of Medicine. See also the accompanying News and Views on the paper in Nature Medicine
2012-01-12: "Surprising Cells Stymie Sepsis" - Science NOW features the latest paper from the Swirski Lab. More details and news coverage are listed here.
2011-10-28: "Stopping monocytes in their tracks" - CSB work is a Nature Reviews Immunology Highlight (pdf)
2011-01-27: New Science Labs web site launches with redesigned view of the CSB article - http://labs.sciencemag.org/splenic/

Filip Swirski