A balancing act of immunity: autoimmunity versus malignancies

A balancing act of immunity: autoimmunity versus malignancies

Project details

Autoimmune diseases (arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis) occur when the body’s immune system is chronically overactive and attacks healthy cells. We are researching the immunological basis of autoimmune disorders and extend such knowledge towards novel therapeutic applications.

In 2020, students may apply for the following projects that examine discrete aspects of autoimmune inflammatory diseases:

  1. Novel regulators of pathogenic cytokine-producing CD4 T cells for therapeutic targeting in multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

  2. Balancing act of immunity: cancer vs autoimmunity.

  3. Neutrophil life and death in autoimmune inflammatory diseases.

Students will perform proof-of-concept immunological studies using experimental models of autoimmune diseases, a wide range of genetic tools, as well as clinically relevant patient samples.

About our research group

We have longstanding interests in the immunological basis (cellular and cytokine pathways) of autoimmune disorders and apply such knowledge towards novel therapeutic applications. While we research several distinct autoimmune diseases, we are currently researching arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis), lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Using preclinical disease models, clinical samples, ‘omics’ technologies (genomics and proteomics) and proof-of-concept studies, we aim to gain a better understanding of the molecular events that drive disease progression and tissue pathology. Ultimately, we hope to unveil critical information that will enable the development of new diagnostic tools and therapies towards personalised medicine.

We believe this information will be also relevant to many other inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis, chronic infection and cancer. Some of these works have resulted in collaborations with the biotechnology sector and led to the development of antibody-based and small molecule inhibitor therapies.


Further reading: TBK1 inhibitors have profound disease-modifying effect in rheumatoid arthritis models


Dr Cynthia Louis profile
Inflammation division
Dr Jessica Day profile
Inflammation division

Professor Ian Wicks

Ian Wicks
Joint Division Head, Laboratory Head

Project Type: