Our research aims to refine and to develop diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies for improved healthcare provision to patients with immune-mediated and infectious diseases.
We investigate molecular circuits and cellular mechanisms across tissues and across diseases for the purpose of identifying ‘hubs’ that may be targeted therapeutically via drug repositioning approaches. We are also interrogating the relationship between variation in cell responsiveness and transcriptional kinetics and the spectrum of immune-related diseases spanning malignancies, autoimmunity and infections to help inform risk-benefit analyses in the context of therapeutic targeting.
The Dendrou group is supported by the Wellcome Trust, Royal Society, UKRI Medical Research Council, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, BBSRC, Rosetrees Trust, Diamond Light Source, Janssen, Celsius Therapeutics, and Nimbus Therapeutics.
We are highly collaborative – working locally and internationally with experimental and computational scientists and clinicians. Some of our ongoing research programmes include:
(1) Investigating the architecture of genetic predisposition across immune-mediated diseases to explore the functional relevance and potential clinical utility of such cross-comparisons; https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01839-6
(2) Precision genome editing with tandem autologous transplantation as a therapy for multiple severe immune-mediated diseases; https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=MR%2FT030410%2F1
(3) Creating cellular atlases across multiple immune-mediated and infectious disorders and malignancies through e.g. the Human Cell Atlas, MAP-JAG, TAURUS, and the Oxford-Janssen Cartography Collaboration
(4) Mapping human inflammatory responses in ethnically diverse groups using a novel ex vivo lymph node model; https://chanzuckerberg.com/science/programs-resources/single-cell-biology/inflammation-projects/mapping-human-inflammatory-responses-in-ethnically-diverse-groups/
(5) The Lymph nodE single-cell Genomics AnCestrY (LEGACY) Network: contextualizing the vaccine response of lymph nodes through the creation of an ancestrally diverse single-cell atlas; https://www.well.ox.ac.uk/news/legacy-network-receives-2million-in-funding-from-the-chan-zuckerberg-initiative-for-single-cell-ancestry-vaccine-research
Potential project areas: Autoimmunity, genetics, genomics, immunology, inflammation, single cells, gene regulation, spatial transcriptomics, imaging, precision medicine
In addition to lab members based at the WHG, the extended group includes:
- The COvid-19 Multi-omics Blood ATlas (COMBAT) Consortium resource paper is out online now in Cell - congratulations to all involved, including Charlotte Rich-Griffin and Victor Yeung!!
- Congratulations to Victor Yeung on his new postdoctoral position at the Francis Crick Institute, and well done to Melissa Grant-Peters on submitting her DPhil thesis!!
- In partnership with Imperial College London and the Uganda Virus Research Institute, the new CZI-funded Lymph nodE single-cell Genomics AnCestrY (LEGACY) Network will create an ethnically diverse single-cell atlas of the response to commonly used vaccines such as flu vaccine with a focus on responses in lymph nodes. Calli Dendrou, the lead from the University of Oxford, said, “Lymph nodes are small organs that are home to the cells that respond to vaccines. Remarkably, very little is known about how they work in humans after vaccination and even less is understood about how ancestral diversity could affect this. Now we have the chance to study them at the single-cell level for the benefit of all. Moreover, we aim to democratise research in this field by providing clinical, experimental and computational training to junior clinicians and scientists from LMICs, and leaving a legacy of empowered and aspirational researchers.”
- Calli Dendrou is interviewed for Nature on how genomic analysis is helping researchers to understand the causes of autoimmunity – “Cracking the genetic code of autoimmune disease” https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-01839-6
- Congratulations to Melissa Grant-Peters and Victor Yeung on their publication investigating HLA associations with a rare and novel disorder, MOG antibody-associated disease (MOGAD)
- Congratulations to Calli Dendrou and Wellcome EDI Officer Maddie Welland on being awarded funds from the British Society for Immunology to organise a symposium on immune-related illness and mental health in academia https://www.immunology.org/news/equality-diversity-inclusion-activity-grants-2021
- New study on precision genome editing with tandem autologous transplantation as a therapy for multiple severe immune-mediated diseases funded by UKRI-MRC, in collaboration with Prof James Davies (WIMM); https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=MR%2FT030410%2F1
- “Is MS written in our genes?” – Calli Dendrou is interviewed by Mel Webb, who lives with multiple sclerosis, for the MS Society magazine
- New exciting collaboration with Janssen to map the cellular landscape of immune mediated disorders: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-02-16-oxford-collaborate-janssen-map-cellular-landscape-immune-mediated-disorders
- Calli Dendrou is featured on BBC World Service radio’s flagship news programme Newshour, discussing the potential for mRNA vaccination as a therapy for multiple sclerosis
- Public engagement: “How to build a human (30 trillion pieces included)” – Charlotte Rich-Griffin gives an excellent Pint of Science Festival talk!
- Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awards funding to support inflammation research to help understand the cellular and molecular basis of adjuvant mediated inflammation in humans; https://www.well.ox.ac.uk/news/chan-zuckerberg-initiative-awards-funding-to-oxford-team-to-support-inflammation-research
A-level student Lucy O’Connell joined the lab for a short placement, and it was a pleasure to host her. Lucy writes, “My work experience with the Dendrou Group was really inspiring and a great insight into the world of academic research. I was grateful to have the opportunity to see the day to day workings of a research group, witnessing complex and fascinating experiments as well as computational work and the analysis and comparison of bivariate data, using new and exciting methods. It was amazing to read research papers produced by Dr Dendrou and be able to discuss them with her, helping me to gain a deeper understanding of autoimmune neurodegenerative diseases and treatment. I also got the chance to look at magnified images of human tissue, identifying different parts such as where a lesion has formed. I really feel my knowledge of immunology and genetics has widened beyond what I could learn in my A-Level curriculum, and I feel I have a much greater understanding of the challenges faced when it comes to treating diseases, and how a research group works to combat these issues.”
- Public engagement: “Discovery of gene associated with 20 autoimmune diseases leads to promising drug trials” – Melissa Grant-Peters writes for the “The Conversation”!
- Congratulations to Victor Yeung for an excellent presentation at the British Society for Immunology Congress, and to Melissa Grant-Peters for her posters on her research and on her public engagement activity “IMMUNITY: a collaborative immunology-themed board game for education”!
- Public engagement: Calli Dendrou gives a Star Wars-themed talk on autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system, “Brain Invaders”, as part of the Pint of Science Festival 2019