Science Snapshot: Eye Immunity

Researchers find that tissue-resident memory T cells in the corneas of mice engender a lasting immune response.

Lisa Winter
Lisa Winter

Lisa Winter became social media editor for The Scientist in 2017. In addition to her duties on social media platforms, she also pens obituaries for the website. She graduated from Arizona State University, where she studied genetics, cell, and developmental biology.

View full profile.


Learn about our editorial policies.


Microscopic image of a pathogen (light blue) infects the eye (nerves shown in purple), T cells (green) are able to launch an immune response.
When a pathogen (light blue) infects a mouse eye (nerves shown in purple), T cells (green) are able to launch an immune response.
Doherty Institute


The cornea is the clear sheath that shields the eye from injury and foreign material. But a study published Tuesday in Cell Reports suggests the cornea is more than just a static physical barrier. Researchers in Australia showed that mouse corneas can harbor tissue-resident memory T cells to provide localized protection after encountering a pathogen. According to the study’s authors, the immune response from the cornea is limited, likely to prevent vision from being obscured.