Understanding immune metabolism on the single-cell and structural levels in the normal and autoimmune germinal centre reaction


  • Dr Alexander Clarke

    University of Oxford

Project summary

The germinal centre (GC) reaction is the process through which our antibodies become more accurate and specialised during the immune response. Sometimes the GC reaction can be dangerous, accidentally altering the target of the antibody to our own tissues. In many autoimmune diseases, including the frequently severe disease lupus, these errors are not corrected and contribute to disease. Recent work has shown that the fuel immune cells use to generate energy can have great effects on their behaviour and I hypothesise that this is important in the normal and autoimmune GC. 

I will use mass spectrometry imaging to directly visualise elements of metabolism in the GC. I will also use conventional methods to measure metabolism and a variety of models in which metabolism can be disrupted. 

My findings will contribute to our understanding of how metabolism might be modified in new treatment approaches to autoimmune disease.