Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a human disease involving progressive autoimmune destruction of the b-cells in the pancreatic islets. Regulatory T cells including FoxP3+ Tregs and Type 1 regulatory (Tr1) cells can play important roles in the progression of autoimmune diseases by suppressing pathogenic autoimmune responses, however their precise mechanisms of action in T1D pathogenesis remain unclear. A clearer understanding of these processes will provide better opportunities for therapeutic intervention in human T1D patients.
This project seeks to identify novel mechanisms of regulatory T cell differentiation and function in T1D, with a specific focus on cytokine regulated pathways and interactions with gut microbiota. The project will make use of both mouse and human systems including newly developed gene knockout NOD mice, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, cellular and molecular immunology techniques, pancreatic islet isolation, RNA-seq and flow cytometry.