Professor Ranjeny Thomas
Professor Ranjeny Thomas
MBBS WA, MD WA, FRACP
Group Leader & Head of Division, Autoimmunity Program
Phone: +61 7 3443 6960
Professor Thomas is a graduate of the University of Western Australia. She received her MBBS in 1984, and then trained in Perth as a rheumatologist. She commenced a research fellowship with Peter Lipsky at Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas in 1990, where she first identified and characterised human circulating dendritic cell precursors. For more than 15 years, in studying the function of dendritic cells in autoimmune diseases, she has written many articles, including several hypothetical articles on the immuno-pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. She was appointed as Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland in 1994, and promoted to Professor in 2004. Ranjeny is founder and a director of the spin-off company, Dendright, which is developing vaccines to suppress autoimmune diseases. Information about Dendright can be found here.
Professor Thomas’ research is focused on the study of the biology and clinical use of human dendritic cells in autoimmune disease. It has explored basic mechanisms of immunity and dendritic cell function in autoimmune disease. This has given rise to several clinical applications, including:
- An antigen-specific vaccine to treat rheumatoid arthritis, currently in clinical trials
- A therapeutic platform for antigen-specific immunotherapy
- A novel diagnostic test for identification of those at risk of type 1 (juvenile) diabetes
- Novel immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes
Research projects span from understanding dendritic cell function through analysis of signaling pathways, in vivo studies of tolerance, through to clinical trials of tolerance in autoimmunity, and clinical studies of risk factors in rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes.
- Understanding the molecular control of dendritic cell function in tolerance
- Initiation of Inflammatory Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis antigen-specific therapy
- Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes Innate Immunity: mouse models and human longitudinal study
- Use of statins to reduce atherosclerosis in early rheumatoid arthritis
10 Recent Publications
- Martin E*, Capini C*, Duggan E, Lutzky VP, Stumbles P, Pettit AR, O’Sullivan BJ and R Thomas. Antigen-specific suppression of established arthritis by dendritic cells deficient in NF-kappa B. Arthritis Rheum 2007, 56:2255-2266
- Hannawi S, Haluska B, Marwick TH, and R Thomas. Atherosclerotic disease is increased in recent onset rheumatoid arthritis: a critical role for inflammation. Arthritis Res Ther 2007, 9:R116.
- Mollah ZUA*, Pai S*, Moore C, O’Sullivan BJ, Harrison MJ, Peng J, Phillips K, Prins JB, Cardinal J and R Thomas. Abnormal NF-B function characterizes human type 1 diabetes dendritic cells and monocytes. J Immunol 2008, 180:3166-75
- Thomas R, Turner M and A Cope. High avidity autoreactive T cells with a low signalling capacity through the T cell receptor: central to rheumatoid arthritis pathogenesis? Arthritis Res Ther 2008, 10:210
- Capini C, Jaturanpinyo M, Chang HI, Mutalik S, Street S, O’Sullivan BJ, Davies NM and R Thomas. Antigen-specific suppression of inflammatory arthritis using liposomes. J Immunol 2009 182:3556-65
- Hannawi S, Marwick TH and R Thomas. Inflammation predicts accelerated brachial arterial wall changes in patients with recent onset rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Res Ther 2009, 11:R51.
- Isomura I, Palmer S, Grumont RJ, Bunting K, Hoyne G, Wilkinson N, Banerjee A, Proietto A, Gugasyan R, Li W, McNally A, Steptoe R, Thomas R, Shannon MF and S Gerondakis. c-Rel is required for the development of thymic Foxp3+ CD4 regulatory T cells. J Exp Med 2009, 206:3001-14.
- Kenna TJ, Waldie T, McNally A, Thomson M, Yagita H, Thomas R and RJ Steptoe. Targeting antigen to diverse antigen-presenting cells inactivates memory CD8+ T-cells without eliciting tissue-destructive effector function. J Immunol 2010;184:598-606
- Thomas R. The balancing act of autoimmunity: central and peripheral tolerance versus infection control. Internat Rev Immunol 2010;29:211-33
- Bertin-Maghit S, Pang D, Pai S, Duggan E, Best S, Escobar A, Steptoe R, O'Sullivan BJ* and R Thomas*. IL-1β accelerates the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes in NOD mice by converting T-regulatory cells to TH17: implications for the timing of tolerizing immunotherapy. Diabetes 2010; In press
|Research Officers||PhD Students||Honours Students||Undergraduate Students/
|Clinical Research Nurses/Clinical Fellows/
Dr Allison Pettit (PhD student): Research fellow, UQ CCR, Brisbane.
Dr Kelli MacDonald (Post-doc): Research fellow, QIMR, Brisbane.
Dr Judy Peng (PhD student): Editor, European Journal of Immunology, Germany.
Dr Angus Thompson (MBBS-PhD student): Cardiology advanced trainee, Perth, Western Australia.
Dr Simone Zehntner (post-doc): Assistant Director, Research Associate, Small Animal Imaging Lab, McConnell Brain Imaging Center, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.