Immune responses in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) to Facial Tumour Disease
Transcriptional regulation of humoral immune responses
We study white blood cells called B cells, which are responsible for immunity to infections.
These are the cells that mediate the protective effects of vaccines. Defects in B cells also underly diseases including cancers, such as B cell leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, as well as autoimmune conditions, such as lupus.
We are using our unique insights into the development and biology of B cells to design and assess new approaches to treating B cell cancers and autoimmunity.
We study the differentiation and biology of B lymphocytes. These cells are the ultimate effector cells of the humoural arm of the adaptive immune system, and the source of antibody. After their generation in the bone marrow, B lymphocytes emigrate to populate the periphery with mature cells specialised to respond to different classes of pathogens.
We are studying the roles played by important genes, and their regulators, in B cell differentiation. This knowledge will allow us to identify and modulate the behavior of these important cells for improved health outcomes. We are also applying our knowledge to studies of immune responses in marsupials. This includes studies of the disease-threatened Tasmanian devil.
Our interests include:
- Molecular regulation of B lymphocyte activation, specialisation and terminal differentiation of antibody secreting plasma cells.
- B cell-specific transcription factors.
- Gene targeting approaches to gene function in vivo.
- Molecular regulation of plasma cell malignancy.
- Discovery of novel immunomodulatory drugs.