Multiple Sclerosis Research Group - Lars Fugger
1. Analysis of central nervous system (CNS) immune/inflammatory cell subsets during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).
We are exploring the downstream gene expression pattern and activation status of sorted, single adaptive and innate immune cells in the CNS of a humanized murine model that displays differential disease susceptibility upon induction of the multiple sclerosis-like disease, EAE, following immunization with a CNS antigen. This work is being performed in the context of a larger project interrogating the role of genetic variants protecting against multiple autoimmune diseases and encompassing genetic, bioinformatic, structural, and in vitro and in vivo functional analyses, including the use of the Oxford and UK Biobanks. The genetic and bioinformatics analyses are being performed in collaboration with Prof Gil McVean.
2. Analysis of natural kill (NK) cell spatiotemporal diversity.
NK cells are innate lymphocytes that have an important function in different types of infections and are also implicated in autoimmune disease and cancer, as well as in more physiological processes such as pregnancy. Given their diverse roles, the ability to harness and manipulate NK cell functionality may be of therapeutic benefit in a number of different contexts, but this requires a better understanding of the full range of NK phenotypes and of how these change as pathological and other processes unfold and as these cells perform their functions in different tissues of the body. Single cell gene expression analyses will be performed in different tissues and under different physiological and pathophysiological conditions to help characterize NK cell diversity in murine models initially, followed by more targeted analyses using human samples.