Dr Clare Pridans
My research focuses on understanding the role of CSF1R signalling during macrophage development.
Prior to the development of mouse embryonic stem cell (ESC) targeting, the rat was the research model of choice. Their use has been accelerated by the expanding availability of genetic modification technologies, firstly via homologous recombination in ESC and more recently, CRISPR-Cas9 and other targeted nucleases, leading to renewed application in biomedical research.
Macrophages are found in all mammalian tissues where they contribute to innate and acquired immunity, tissue development, homeostasis and repair; as well as the pathogenesis of inflammatory, neoplastic, and neurological diseases. Tissue-resident macrophages adapt to distinct tissue niches and environments to perform tissue-specific functions. Macrophage production and differentiation from bone marrow progenitor cells is controlled by macrophage colony stimulating factor (CSF1), which signals through the CSF1 receptor (CSF1R).
The limitations of inbred mice as models for human macrophage biology have been well-documented. They include differences in transcriptional regulation of CSF1R.
We are interested in the role of CSF1R signalling during macrophage development and also during postnatal development of the rat. To achieve this we make use of rats deficient in CSF1 and CSF1R as well as CSF1R-mApple reporter transgenic rats. Initial studies have highlighted important differences between mouse and rat models and suggest that rat macrophages are more similar to humans than mice.
Other current research projects in the laboratory are focused upon:
- The transcriptional variation in rat tissue macrophages
- The rat macrophage response to infection and comparison with mice and humans
- The requirement of conserved elements within the Csf1r gene for macrophage development
Clare obtained her PhD in 2006 at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia. Working with Professor Stephen Nutt, her work focused on the transcriptional regulation of B lymphocyte commitment. In 2007 Clare moved to the UK and spent 3 years working with Professor Brian Huntly at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research. Here she investigated epigenetic signatures in human acute myeloid leukaemia. From 2010 to 2017 Clare worked with Professor David Hume at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. She will continue her research on CSF1R at the Medical Research Council Centre for Inflammation Research (CIR) at the University of Edinburgh from February 2018.
- STEM Ambassador
- Geir Bjørkøy - Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
- David Hume – Mater Research Institute, University of Queensland, Australia
- Steve Jenkins - Centre for Inflammation Research
- Barry McColl - UK Dementia Research Institute Edinburgh