The Thomas Group’s research is focused on the study of autoimmune disease and restoration of tolerance. We aim to understand dendritic cell function, analyse T cell responses, study tolerance in vivo and the microbial influences on autoimmune disease and tolerance. We translate our insights to develop technological solutions to restore tolerance by targeting dendtitic cells. We undertake clinical trials of tolerance in autoimmune diseases, and clinical studies of risk evaluation and modification in rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis and type 1 diabetes. 

Through this work, Ranjeny Thomas and her team developed dendritic cell and liposome products for clinical trials of antigen-specific immunotherapy targeting dendritic cells in rheumatoid arthritis. The team has also contributed major insights into the pathogenesis of spondyloarthropathy and autoimmune diabetes, leading to the development of disease biomarkers and therapeutic strategies. Ranjeny was founder and a director of the spin-off company, Dendright, developing antigen-specific technologies to suppress rheumatoid arthritis.

Group Leader

Postdoctoral Researchers

Research staff

PhD students

  • Ms Pascale Wehr
  • Dr Yassmin Musthaffa
  • Dr Kerry Buchanan
  • Dr Akansha Zala

Masters of Translational Medicine student

  • Dr Matthew Terrill

  • Understanding the molecular control of dendritic cell function in tolerance
  • Pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, uveitis and arthritis in a mouse model of spondyloarthropathy: microbiota and the interaction with host immunity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis antigen-specific therapy: nanoparticle development and immune responses. Animal models, clinical trials
  • Biomarkers of risk in individuals at risk of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Antigen-specific T cells in Rheumatoid Arthritis: MHC-peptide interactions with T cells, synovial tissue T cell populations
  • Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes novel treatments: preclinical development
  • Type 1 diabetes biomarkers: human longitudinal study and association with remission
  • Antigen-specific T cells in ANCA vasculitis

Student projects

  • Identification of individuals with or at risk of Type 1 Diabetes suitable for antigen-specific tolerising immunotherapy
  • Interaction of the gut microbiome with the immune response in the predisposition to Spondyloarthritis
  • The antigen-specific immune response in ANCA-associated vasculitis
  • Immunogenic peptide epitopes in Graves' disease
  • Unique T cell receptors (TCR) in autoimmune disease: biomarkers and therapeutic targets
  • Factors influencing clinical remission in type 1 diabetes
  • Nanoparticle delivery systems for antigen-specific immunotherapy in type 1 diabetes

  • Arthritis Australia
  • Arthritis Queensland
  • Immune Tolerance Network
  • US Department of Defence
  • Diabetes Australia Research Trust
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Ian Potter Foundation