Team TAP

Immunology

Team TAP

New Strategies to Target Autoreactive Plasma Cells

B cells play a central role in the onset and progression of numerous autoimmune diseases. Upon aberrant activation, they can differentiate into plasma cells that generate antibodies targeting self-antigens, contributing to the pathogenesis of these conditions. Autoantibodies are instrumental in causing tissue damage and sustaining chronic inflammation, making plasma cells prime candidates for therapeutic intervention. However, the development of targeted therapies is impeded by the absence of specific biomarkers for autoreactive plasma cells.

The main focus of team TAP is to investigate the deep biology of autoreactive B cells and uncover the mechanisms behind the development and persistence of plasma cells and pathogenic antibodies. By employing a combination of state-of-the-art single-cell transcriptomic profiling and high-throughput antibody analysis, we aim to identify new biomarkers of B cell autoreactivity. Our team’s ultimate goal is to define novel therapeutic strategies specifically targeting autoreactive plasma cells, thus advancing the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of autoimmune diseases.

Mentors
  • Dr. Jeanne Allinne (Industry Mentor)
    Head of Immuno-Inflammation Research, Servier, Paris, France
  • Dr. Julien Verdier (Industry Mentor)
    Disease Biology Expert in Immuno-inflammation, Servier, Paris, France

The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Servier.

Our Team Members

Dr. Eleonora Melzi

Group Leader

 Short Bio
  • 2017 – 2023: Research Fellow at Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT & Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; EMBO long-term fellow, defining B cell activation strategies in response to novel HIV vaccines.
  • 2012 – 2017: PhD in Infection and Immunity at MRC University of Glasgow, Centre for Virus Research, UK, working on the identification of a B cell immunosuppressive mechanism induced by arbovirus infection.
  • 2011 – 2012: Research Assistant, Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh, UK, investigating the etiopathogenesis of bovine neonatal pancytopenia.
  • 2009: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
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