Developing a new drug that targets plasmacytoid dendritic cells for the treatment of lupus

Developing a new drug that targets plasmacytoid dendritic cells for the treatment of lupus

Project details

This project would suit someone with an interest in medicinal chemistry and immunology. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) have been implicated in the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erthymatosus (SLE), known simply as lupus.

We have identified a novel small molecule in a drug screen that blocks their development from bone marrow progenitors. If one could block pDC development in patients, one may be able to reduce the symptoms or disease progression. This project will aim to identify the molecular target of this drug in pDC progenitors, and test drug candidates in models of pDC development. 

This project will be at the frontier between chemistry and biology and suit a student willing to undertake a highly multidisciplinary project, and learn a lot of techniques from chemistry, proteomics, molecular and cell biology. A successful project may result in new treatments, and a deeper understanding of immune cell development.


About our research group

The Single Cell Systems Biology laboratory focuses on understanding development at a single cell or ‘clonal’ level. Our biological interests are focused on haematopoiesis (both in the steady-state and after perturbation with inflammation or during leukemia).

We have a particular interest in the development of the dendritic cell subtypes of the immune system. We both adopt and develop our own technologies including cellular barcoding for clonal lineage tracing, as well as single cell ‘mult-omics’.


Email supervisors



Dr Shalin Naik

Dr Shalin Naik in the laboratory
Laboratory Head

Professor Guillaume Lessene

Professor Guillaume Lessene in a laboratory
Laboratory Head; Leader, New Medicines and Advanced Technologies Theme

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