Our groups have a major interest in the biology of regulatory T cells and the understanding of T cell involvement in autoimmunity. These interests are based on distinct but highly complementary experimental approaches.
1. How the T cell proteins CD28 and CTLA-4 control the balance between tolerance and immunity. We carry out detailed studies into the molecular basis of CD28 and CTLA-4 function with a view to understanding how these pathways influence human T cell responses. In addition the Sansom lab is interested in the role of environmental factors (such as vitamin D) in shaping T cell differentiation. These interests are applied in the context of autoimmune diseases, in particular rheumatoid arthritis in collaboration with Dr Karim Raza.
2. We are seeking to understand the pathogenesis of T cell driven autoimmune diseases, in particular type 1 diabetes. The Lab uses a TCR transgenic mouse model of diabetes to probe the pathways that control CD4 T cell activation, differentiation and regulation. Our primary interests relate to T cell costimulation (specifically the CD28/CTLA-4 pathway) and the homeostasis and function of regulatory T cells in vivo. The impact of cytokines such as interleukin-21 on T cell regulation and the contribution of different B cell subsets to autoimmune diabetes are also under study. Both the Sansom and Walker Labs collaborate closely with Dr Parth Narendran in translating our understanding of T cell responses into human type 1 diabetes.
Research group staff members...
Dr Omar Qureshi
Dr Tiezheng Hou
Dr Rupert Kenefeck
Dr Chunjing Wang
Dr Claire Manzotti