A new regulator of 'stemness' to create dendritic cell factories for immunotherapy

A new regulator of 'stemness' to create dendritic cell factories for immunotherapy

Project details

Dendritic cells (DCs) are important actors in cancer immunotherapy considering their ability to activate T cells. However, they cannot be generated in large numbers, rendering it difficult for their utilisation in anti-tumour vaccination to date.

We have identified a novel target that confers ‘stemness’ activity in DC progenitors in culture such that, when the gene is deleted, DCs grow indefinitely – an unprecedented observation that may improve their therapeutic potential. The student objectives will be to decipher how this protein regulates properties of ‘stemness’ to confer this potential and whether DCs derived in this way can be used for immunotherapy in pre-clinical cancer models.

By using cell culture, flow cytometry, CRISPR, single-cell technologies, molecular techniques such as ChIP-seq, proteomic or PROTAC tools as well as in vivo cancer immunotherapy, and depending on their interests, the student will determine the protein’s mechanism of action and/or the feasibility for use of DCs in immunotherapy.

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. 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 ‘multi-omics’. Depending on interests and skills, students in the lab are encouraged and supported in learning both the laboratory techniques to generate new data, as well as the computational tools to analyse and interpret the results. 

The team is composed of passionate post-doctoral scientists and PhD students with different scientific background and origins which lead to great collaborations, constructive discussions on the different projects.  


Email supervisors



Dr Shalin Naik

Dr Shalin Naik in the laboratory
Laboratory Head
Dr Cindy Audiger
Immunology division

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