20062016

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr. Ashish Banerjee is an Immunologist interested in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. He received his PhD from the world renowned Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India. Subsequently, he moved to Melbourne for his post-doctoral studies which involved understanding the cross talk between NF-kB and MAP kinase signalling pathways in immune cells. His work unravelled a novel link between NF-kB and ERK signalling that controls inflammation and cell survival in macrophages and B cells respectively.

Regulatory T cells: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" of the Immune system

Dr. Banerjee is currently studying Regulatory T cells (Tregs), which are a specialised subset of blood cells essential for the maintenance of immune homeostasis. Mice and humans that lack Tregs suffer from an early-onset, multi-organ fatal inflammatory disease. Although Tregs play a pivotal role in preventing autoimmune disease and limiting chronic inflammation, they also impair beneficial responses by impairing sterilising immunity to certain pathogens and by limiting anti-tumour immunity. Given their key function in the immune system, it is imperative to understand how Treg numbers and function are controlled. The NF-kB family of transcription factors have been identified as major players in Treg development and function. In close collaboration with Dr. George Grigoriadis we are trying to understand the precise role of NF-kB in Tregs.

As therapeutic agents that impact upon the NF-kB pathway are increasingly being utilised in the treatment of a diverse spectrum of diseases, research into how these drugs may impact on Treg differentiation, function or stability is urgently needed. We anticipate that our findings will be beneficial to clinical practice and will help formulate novel therapeutic strategies to usefully manipulate Tregs in human disease.

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