Immune-mediated diseases are chronic and disabling conditions affecting large number of people. Genome wide association studies (GWAS) have mapped hundreds of risk loci associated with immune-mediated diseases, opening up a tremendous potential to discover disease mechanisms and identify new drug targets. However, disease variants are difficult to study as they are often in non-coding regions of the genome and their activity may only show in specific cell types and cell states.
The Soskic Group uses a range of genomic and immunological assays to study variation in the human immune system and understand how disease variants affect cellular processes and cell-cell interactions. We are particularly focused on understanding the crosstalk between T and B cells, which is central to protective immunity and has been implicated in a wide range of immune diseases. By studying variation in gene expression, chromatin activity and cellular phenotypes we aim to gain fundamental insights into the molecular and genetic control of B cell activation and antibody production. This is critical for understanding the genetics of autoimmune diseases, infection and vaccine responses.