Grants awarded

Discovering how transcription factors define human B cell fate decisions in vivo


Dr Hamish King

Queen Mary University of London

United Kingdom

B cells are immune cells that respond to pathogens by differentiating into plasma cells to make antibody, or memory B cells to protect against future infections. The decision to make a memory B cell or a plasma cell is controlled by transcription factors that regulate gene expression. However, we don’t fully understand the mechanisms behind this.

I will use single-cell genomics to examine transcription factor activity during human B-cell development at unprecedented resolution. This will allow me to discover how different transcription factors regulate gene expression to control the decisions about the fate of B cells. It will reveal how different transcription factors work together or compete with each other during this process.

My findings will help to develop methods to modify B-cell development to improve vaccine efficiency or treat auto-immune disorders.