Epigenetic targeting of plasmacytoid dendritic cells to treat lupus

Epigenetic targeting of plasmacytoid dendritic cells to treat lupus

Project details

Systemic lupus erythematosus (or lupus) is an autoimmune disease characterised by inflammation and damage to various tissues and vital organs of the body.

Dendritic cells (DCs), a type of immune cell, are emerging as one of the key players in autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Plasmacytoid DCs, in particular, have been implicated in the pathogenesis. 

We have discovered a novel epigenetic regulating drug that blocks the development of plasmacytoid DCs. This project will involve testing this drug and in culture systems of DCs followed by in vivo models of lupus, as well as biochemistry studies to identify the target of the drug. A chemistry background or interest is desirable but not essential.

About our research group

Our laboratory takes a single cell systems biology approach to studying how haematopoietic stem cells ultimately generate all of the red and white blood cells of the immune system. 

We are a very technology-driven lab with the philosophy that studying single cells at different functional and molecular levels, and integrating this information, will reveal the mechanisms behind their fate specification in health and disease.

To this purpose, we perform single cell analysis in vivo using: 

  • Cellular barcoding
  • Cell division tracking in vitro using long-term imaging for family tree construction
  • Single cell RNA-sequencing for lineage priming program identification. 

Combined, we anticipate this suite of tools will allow us to gain a high-resolution understanding into the principles and molecular mechanism governing development and the establishment of lineage fate in normal and cancerous tissues, with view to therapeutic interventions.


Dr Shalin Naik

Dr Shalin Naik in the laboratory
Laboratory Head

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