The Reid Trusts laboratory was founded to study rheumatoid arthritis and has expanded to pursue research into other challenging inflammatory diseases, including vasculitis, myositis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
We use experimental models of these human diseases, and patient samples, for laboratory research using state of the art technologies at WEHI. In this way, we hope to understand the key molecular events that drive organ damage and cause disability for patients. We aim to develop new diagnostic tools and targeted therapies and to translate these into the clinic.
To improve the understanding and treatment of human inflammatory diseases.
Our work on how growth factors for blood cells can also fuel inflammation and disease has led to new monoclonal antibody treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis and lupus.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common human inflammatory disease that targets synovial joints, causing chronic joint pain and leading to joint damage and progressive disability. The cause of RA remains unclear, although activation of innate and adaptive immune systems and increased production of cytokines are prominent features of RA. We aim to understand the biology of key effector cells and dysregulation of cytokine production and cytokine signalling in RA, in order to identify new therapeutic targets and biomarkers to more effectively treat RA. We have established a wide range of experimental systems to study RA, employing WEHI’s advanced technologies. In conjunction with the Centre for Biologic Therapies, we are developing several therapeutic antibodies to new targets.
Team members: Dr Cynthia Louis (email@example.com)
Kawasaki Disease (KD) causes cardiac vasculitis in children. Temporal arteritis (also called giant cell arteritis, GCA) is a similar condition in older adults. We have established an experimental model of KD and have been determining which cells and cytokines are the most suitable candidates for therapeutic intervention. We showed that GM-CSF is a critical cytokine in KD. Based on this and other research, an anti-GM-CSF receptor antibody has undergone clinical trials in GCA. We have also recently identified the mTOR pathway and its inhibitor rapamycin as another important pathway in KD.
Team members: Dr Angus Stock (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Myositis comprises a spectrum of poorly understood inflammatory diseases involving muscles. This is a new area of research for the Lab, employing in vitro and in vivo experimental models and advanced technologies, including spatial transcriptomics applied to human muscle biopsies.
Lab members: Dr Jess Day (email@example.com)
Rhesus D incompatability between mother and baby is a well recognised cause of HDN. remarkably, it can be largely prevented by administration of pooled anti-RhD immunoglobulins during pregnancy, derived from blood donors. As part of our Lab’s interests in therapeutic antibodies, we are collaborating with Australian Red Cross Lifeblood to fully characterise these naturally occurring anti-RhD antibodies.
Team member: Dr Behnaz Heydarchi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We have a relatively small lab, but collaborate widely across WEHI, and with colleagues internationally. We also collaborate closely with CSL around new therapeutic antibodies and with expert clinicians in the Melbourne Biomedical Precinct.
Professor Wicks is a clinician-scientist, and works as a Rheumatologist at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He is also Joint Head of Clinical Discovery and Translation at WEHI, so his laboratory is very well placed for translational research.