Stopping the rogue immune cells that attack pancreatic islets in diabetes

Stopping the rogue immune cells that attack pancreatic islets in diabetes

Project details

Type I diabetes occurs when our immune defences misfire and attack the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Although it has been known for many years that T cells lead this autoimmune attack, we still do not know how to switch this destructive autoimmune response off. 

In this Honours project, we use CRISPR/Cas9 technology to discover the genes that can control the autoimmune response that causes type I diabetes. We will use powerful new models of diabetes, blood glucose measurements, flow cytometry, histopathology and adoptive transfer experiments to reveal how these genes influence the progress of autoimmune diabetes, therefore, might be employed in exciting new therapeutic targets for type I diabetes.


About our research group

The Gray laboratory works at the interface of the fields of immunology and cell death. We seek to define the cellular and molecular basis of T cell differentiation and death to elucidate pathological mechanisms in immunodeficiency, autoimmunity and cancer. We have projects on: 

  • Foxp3+ regulatory T cell homeostasis (Liston and Gray, Nat.Rev.Immunol., 2014 Mar 14(3):154-65; Pierson et al., Nat.Immunol., 2013 14(9):959-65)
  • Thymus function (Danso-Abeam, et al. Eur.J.Immunol., 2013 43(1):75-84)
  • Immunological tolerance (Gray et al., Immunity, 2012 37(3):451-62; Gray et al., Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci. (USA), 2007 104(46):18193-8)
  • T cell differentiation (Mingueneau, et al., Nat.Immunol., 2013 14(6):619-32)

The lab is composed of two postdoctoral fellows and three PhD students and takes a highly collaborative approach to solving complex problems. We work closely with many groups at the Institute, including the Strasser lab.


Microscopy image
Immunofluorescent staining of the developing thymus that normally imposes immunological tolerance to prevent diabetes



Dr Daniel Gray

Dr Daniel Gray
Laboratory Head

Professor Andreas Strasser

Andreas Strasser
Joint Division Head

Project Type: