A new function of the cytokine BAFF in dendritic cell maturation: Implications for immunity and cancers

Lead Researcher Email Number Webpage
Professor Fabienne Mackay | Dr Beatriz Garcillan fabienne.mackay@unimelb.edu.au +61 3 834 42726 | + 61 3 834 43636 (BG) Personal web page

Project Details

Dendritic cells (DCs) play a critical role in immunity, they initiate immune responses thanks to their ability to capture, process and present antigens to naïve T cells. DCs are key initiators of immune responses against pathogens and cancers. As such, manipulation of DC function has been exploited to develop new immunotherapies to improve vaccines and act as adjuvants to promote anti-tumor immunity in cancer. Therefore, understanding the processes that regulate DC activation and maturation is of particular importance, as this information will improve the design of novel immunotherapies.

DCs interact and receive signals from other immune cells that can regulate their responses. Our laboratory has made a very surprising discovery with an impact on DC maturation. We have identified TACI, one of 3 receptor for the cytokine BAFF, as an emerging new player in the crosstalk between B cells and DCs.

The aim of this project is to elucidate the role of the BAFF system in DC maturation and its impact in the generation of immune responses. To do this, we have generated very important tools already available in the laboratory, TACI-deficient mice, super-TACI mice with increased TACI signalling and anti-human TACI antibodies to confirm our findings in the human system and validate the importance of the observation for the purpose of therapy development. All techniques for this project are in place and well validated.


Professor Fabienne Mackay, Lab Head

Dr Beatriz Garcillan, Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Asolina Braun, Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD, Honours students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Group

Mackay (F) laboratory: B lymphocytes, BAFF, autoimmunity and cancer

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Infection & Immunity, Cell Signalling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Microbiology and Immunology

Unit / Centre

Mackay (F) laboratory: B lymphocytes, BAFF, autoimmunity and cancer