The immune system plays a vital role in protecting against pathogens and cancer, but mutations in genes involved in cell signalling pathways can lead to immune syndromes with diverse clinical manifestations. The link between mutations and symptoms, as well as treatment effectiveness, remains unclear in many cases.
IMMERGE takes a multidisciplinary approach to explore the relationship between genetic mutations, clinical outcomes, and drug responses. It investigates the influence of genetic background and environmental factors, studies the interactions of mutations with signalling pathways and transcriptional factors, and aims to develop strategies for correcting these mutations.
Through our research and training activities, we will address 3 key scientific challenges in the area of immunology:
1. To characterise the functional impact of genetic mutations of Inborn Errors of Immunity (IEI) using a variety of bulk and single-cell transcriptomic, epigenomic, proteomic methods in different immune cell types from selected IEIs using single-cell sequencing methods.
2. To develop and apply bioinformatic tools for data integration of the different omics datasets and use them for the identification of biomarkers and relevant cellular pathways to be subsequently corrected.
3. To use in vitro and in vivo models for correction or modelling of the impact of selected genes and characterise the effects on the phenotype using the aforementioned methodologies. Improve our toolset for research and innovation by developing novel pre-clinical models for immunodeficiencies.
SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
The IMMERGE network’s well-balanced composition will provide all the necessary know-how and resources to underpin the scientific distinction of our Doctoral Candidates (DCs).
Academic and industry specialists, coming from two different research environments (basic and clinical) across Europe and other international institutions, will provide a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary and multisectoral education in the realm of immunology.
Our Doctoral Candidates (DCs) will be registered in a PhD program and will participate in a well-organized training initiative comprising of courses for developing scientific and complementary skills, specialized workshops, conferences, retreats, and opportunities for networking.
Moreover, our DCs will undertake temporary placements at other institutions within the network, to facilitate the essential collaborations for achieving research and training of excellence and enhancing their career perspectives in both academia and the private sector.
Our 3 research objectives are addressed in three dedicated research Work Packages (WPs) that are interconnected but independent. In addition, there are three key additional transversal WPs are training, communication, management and ethics.
IMMERGE Work Packages
WP 1. Single cell and bulk omics and immune cell dataset production (Lead by Sanger)
WP 2. Integrative and multiomic data analysis (Lead by EMBL)
WP 3. Genetic Editing and Impact on immune cell function in models (Lead by OSR)
WP 4. Training and Career Development (Lead by IJC)
WP 5. Communication, Dissemination, Patient Engagement and Exploitation (Lead by qGenomics)
WP 6. Management and Ethics (Lead by IJC)
IMMERGE work pipeline