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overview The ultimate goal of research in my laboratory is to develop improved methods for measuring autoimmunity in type 1A diabetes, identify reagents that might have therapeutic utility for the prevention and/or treatment of this disease, and ultimately to translate this research to the clinic. Type 1A diabetes is a T-cell mediated autoimmune disease that results in an absolute deficiency of insulin following destruction of pancreatic beta cells. Consequently my research focuses on 2 major areas; auto-immunity to pancreatic beta cell proteins, and the cell biology of the pancreatic beta cell, with special emphasis on diabetes autoantigens. Current projects include the characterization of T-cells recognizing potentially diabetogenic epitopes in the auto-antigens IA-2, IA-2ß (phogrin), IGRP and ZnT8; use of pre-clinical rodent models to develop novel immune-therapies based on these targets; improving auto-antibody based prediction methods for type 1A diabetes risk; and development of novel “tetramer” based reagents for measuring human auto-antigen specific T-cells in peripheral blood. I am also interested in the functional and cell biological properties of IA-2, IA-2ß (phogrin), IGRP and ZnT8, and especially in determining why they are targeted by the immune system, and how defects in their function may contribute to type 2 diabetes. I am currently investigating the hypothesis that post-translational modifications unique to the beta cell create “neo-antigens” that are no subject to central tolerance. I also have a long-standing research interest in the basic cell biology of antigen processing and presentation, particularly in B lymphocytes, and how this might be harnessed for the development of novel antigen-specific therapies that might be applicable to the treatment and/or prevention of type 1 diabetes.

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