Combining genetics and high-resolution cell phenotyping to map pathways underlying inflammatory bowel disease
Dr Luke Jostins-Dean
University of Oxford
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disorder of the digestive system which affects 1 in 250 Europeans. It is likely that it is caused by a combination of environmental exposure and genetic susceptibility. We have discovered hundreds of genetic variants that increase the risk of having IBD, but we know little about how these variants actually change the immune system.
We will develop computational techniques and generate new data to identify immune cells where IBD genes are active, and work with immunologists to determine how to measure these cells' function. We will collect and isolate these cells from patients with IBD and healthy controls and measure how risk variants affect IBD genes and cell function. We will test whether these cells predict disease prognosis, and work with clinicians to plan new studies to determine whether monitoring or drugging these cells could help treat patients.
Our findings could help develop new ways to treat people with IBD.