Sex-dependent gene regulation in immune cells

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Daniel Rico

    Newcastle University

Project summary

Sex is a fundamental but frequently overlooked biological characteristic of humans and model organisms that affects immune responses.

I aim to develop integrative bioinformatics approaches to interrogate publicly-available transcriptomics and epigenomics datasets to delineate the sex-determined molecular mechanisms that modulate the immune system. My group will generate models of the sex- and cell-specific gene regulatory networks for the major blood cell types where data is available. We will study how these sex-specific networks derived from healthy cells are influenced by infections and other disease conditions. We will develop new bioinformatics tools to integrate the sex-specific transcriptional programs with diverse sources of epigenomics information to identify the distinct chromatin configurations that underlie the different immune responses in men and women.

These results will provide the necessary framework to understand the molecular differences in men and women in response to infections, autoimmune disease and in immunodeficiencies. This will provide new insights underlying disease pathogenesis and inform personalised therapy for men and women.