The quantitative impact of immune checkpoints on T cell proliferation

The quantitative impact of immune checkpoints on T cell proliferation

Project details

T cells undergo a proliferative burst upon antigen stimulation. We have recently discovered that the number of times a T cell divides before reverting to quiescence ("division destiny") is regulated by the sum of the positive signals received by T-cells during activation (Marchingo et al, Science 2014).

The goal of this project is to establish how T cells integrate negative signals, such as PD-1 engagement, to curtail cell expansion. Flow cytometry, cell tracking techniques, blocking antibodies and genetic models will be employed to elucidate the quantitative basis of lymphocyte behaviour, cell fate decisions and molecular control of immune tolerance.

This project will resolve how checkpoint inhibitors work in cancer immunotherapy and whether inducing these inhibitory signals could be used in the context of autoimmune disease.

About our research group

This project will be supervised by Dr Susanne Heinzel and Dr Daniel Gray.

Dr Heinzel’s research has established a quantitative basis of lymphocyte behaviour in response to antigen and aims to describe, understand and predict immune outcomes (e.g. Marchingo et al, Science 2014).

Dr Gray is an expert in the thymic development of T cells, the induction of immune tolerance and the function of inhibitory molecules (e.g. Liston and Gray, Nat.Rev.Immunol., 2014 Mar 14(3):154-65; Gray et al., Immunity, 2012 37(3):451-62).

These senior researchers have supervised numerous PhD students to excellent outcomes and work in a highly interactive, multi-disciplinary collaboration.


Susanne Heinzel profile
Immunology division

Dr Daniel Gray

Dr Daniel Gray
Laboratory Head

Project Type:

Researchers looking at mathematical equations

Our researchers have defined for the first time how the size of the immune response is controlled during infection, or in response to vaccination.