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Identifying novel regulators of (auto)immune activation

Thursday 4 May 2017

Identifying novel regulators of (auto)immune activation

The pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases are still poorly understood and current therapy is insufficient. In order to develop better treatment strategies for these diseases we need a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in children which severely impacts the life of these patients. In the inflamed joints of these patients both T cells and monocytes (a.o.) are “overactivated” and as a result help to perpetuate the inflammation and the disease. Our group investigates the cellular and molecular processes that are deregulated in the immune cells of these patients.

We offer internships within the Laboratory for Translational Immunology (UMC Utrecht). Within this translational environment we will investigate the molecular processes that regulate immune cell function, with an ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

More specifically our previous epigenetic and transcriptomic screens have identified various potential regulators of both monocyte and T cells activation. The aim of the project will now be to validate that, and investigate how, these proteins can modulate immune responses. In order to achieve this goal the expression of the “target proteins” will be manipulated in cell lines and primary cells from healthy controls or JIA patients. Subsequently the immune phenotype will be assessed to understand how these proteins influence immune activation and JIA pathogenesis.

Techniques:
Cell culture, flow cytometry, overexpression, CRISPR/Cas9, transduction, Western blot, QPCR, luminex.

Contact:
Dr. Jorg van Loosdregt - j.vanloosdregt@umcutrecht.nl