Characterising regulatory T cells in coeliac disease

Characterising regulatory T cells in coeliac disease

Project details

Coeliac disease is a serious immune illness caused by a dietary protein called gluten. 1 in 70 Australians develop coeliac disease because their immune system loses the ability to 'tolerate' gluten. Why and how gluten 'tolerance' is lost in some people is not understood. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) may be an important player as they help maintain oral tolerance and gluten-specific Tregs from coeliac disease patients have reduced suppressive capability.

This project aims to characterise the phenotype and function of Tregs from people with coeliac disease after gluten consumption and will employ tissue culture techniques, flow cytometry, and functional immune readouts including cytokine detection methods.

Defining the defect in gluten-specific Tregs would provide a major advance in understanding how gluten tolerance is lost in people with coeliac disease.

About our research group

Our research is focused on understanding coeliac disease pathogenesis to understand why and how coeliac disease occurs and to enable better treatments and diagnostic tests to benefit patients.

We investigate the genetics and immune responses to gluten in coeliac disease patients and compare them to healthy individuals and those with gluten sensitivity. We have assembled a large cohort of participants willing to undertake gluten challenge to enable the study of gluten-specific immunity.

The lab is headed by gastroenterologist Dr Jason Tye-Din and is composed of two post-doctoral researchers (human immunology and dietetics), one research assistant, and two research nurses. The group is part of the Immunology division and also utilises the Clinical Translation Centre and adjacent endoscopy and gastroenterology facilities at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.


Dr Melinda Hardy
Immunology division

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