Ian Wicks-Projects

Ian Wicks-Projects



My lab research is focused on molecular analysis of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Cytokines and cytokine signaling in rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common human inflammatory disease that targets synovial joints, causing chronic joint pain and leading to significant disability. The autoantigens that trigger RA remain unclear, although activation of innate and adaptive immune systems and production of cytokines are prominent features of RA. Our laboratory aims to understand dysregulation of cytokine production and signaling in RA and to identify new therapeutic targets and biomarkers to more effectively treat RA. Prof Wicks is currently the head of the Rheumatology Unit at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, and therefore his laboratory is well placed for translational research.

Team members: Dr Simon Chatfield, Dr Gabby Goldberg, Dr Devi Ngo

New therapeutic targets in systemic lupus erythematous

Systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the connective tissues are targeted. It can result in damage to the skin, kidney and brain, and other major organs, such as the bone marrow. Current treatments, including steroids and conventional immunosuppressive agents, are often inadequate and may have toxic side effects. Our laboratory is interested in identifying new targets for treatment of SLE. We are evaluating cytokine antagonism as a new potential therapeutic approach to SLE, including a collaboration with CSL on a novel monoclonal antibody.

Team member: Dr Shereen Oon

Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki Disease (KD) is a leading cause of acquired paediatric heart disease. We have established an experimental model of KD . Current treatment for KD relies on immunoglobulin purified from blood donors, which is effective in most cases, but some children do not respond. Through the use of genetic and pharmacological approaches in our Candida albicans model we seek to determine which cytokines and inflammatory mediators are the most suitable candidates for therapeutic intervention. Ultimately this may translate into more effective treatment for KD.

Team members: Dr Angus Stock, paediatric rheumatologist at The Royal Children’s Hospital