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ERC Starting Grant - Dissecting the context-specificity of genetic immune regulation in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (ImmGenDC)

  • Project leader:Dr. Sarah Kim-Hellmuth
  • Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital,
  • Funding:2022 to 2027

Antiviral immunity and autoimmune diseases exhibit high interindividual variability. Despite intensive research, the genetic and molecular basis of this variability are incompletely understood. A key player of the immune system is the plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC). Recent single-cell (sc) work revealed functionally distinct pDC subsets. Considering that pDCs respond to many pathogens, this highlights a previously underappreciated functional diversity of pDCs.

I hypothesize that the genetic regulation of pDCs plays a fundamental role in explaining antiviral response and autoimmune variability. Based on my previous work on immune cells, this genetic regulation is expected to be highly context-specific depending on cell type, cell response, ancestry populations and sex among other factors.

The overarching goal of this proposal is to elucidate the context-specificity of immune response and its genetic regulation in pDCs to improve our understanding of human antiviral response variation and pinpoint undiscovered disease pathways of autoimmune diseases.

Source: Dr. Kim-Hellmuth