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- Chair in Immune Regulation
- Research Department of Immunology
- Div of Infection & Immunity
- Faculty of Medical Sciences
The Walker lab is focused on understanding how the immune system is regulated and why it sometimes unleashes its destructive force on tissues of our own body. In particular we want to understand why the immune system targets the pancreas in certain individuals leading to the development of Type 1 Diabetes. Part of our research aims to characterise the precise nature of the immune response that drives Type 1 Diabetes (Who are the key cellular players? Which pathways activate them? What factors do they secrete?). Further projects involve dissecting the regulatory mechanisms that normally operate to keep the immune system in check. Chief among these is a population of cells termed regulatory T cells that actively suppress autoimmunity in healthy individuals. We are interested in uncovering the molecular mechanisms that regulatory T cells use to inhibit autoimmune diseases like Type 1 Diabetes. We believe that a more precise understanding of why autoimmune diseases develop, and of the protective mechanisms that normally prevent this, will open new avenues for treating these conditions.