Elucidating genetic modulation of T cell – monocyte interactions and activation (Mono activation)

Study code

Lead researcher
Dr Michael Morgan

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
Wellcome Sanger Institute

Researcher type

Speciality area

Recruitment Site


We are studying how natural human variation affects the function of different white blood cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes and monocytes are white blood cells that make up an important part of the immune system, combating infections and cancer.

Many factors, both genetic and environmental can influence how the immune system functions. In some rare cases, such as in the case of genetic immunodeficiency, the effects can be strong and result in overt disease. In other cases, the effects can be subtle and may only alter specific cellular measurements without impacting general health.

While certain examples of genetic and environmental influences on the immune system have been well-studied, the ways in which many factors influence the immune response remain unknown.

We plan to study the impact of natural genetic variation on the characteristics and function of lymphocytes and monocytes, along with age, gender, lifestyle and medical history. In light of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we also wish to understand the impact that exposure to this virus has had on how these important immune cells interact and behave. 

Samples recruited through the Cambridge BioResource will be used to examine the impact of natural variation among healthy individuals on lymphocyte and monocyte biology. 

Ultimately, we hope this will lead to a better understanding of the factors that control immune cell biology, which could inform development of lymphocyte-monocyte interaction-targeting therapeutics for cancer, inflammatory disease, or infection. 

Participation: For this study we recruited 105 volunteers from the Cambridge BioResource to give a 34ml blood donation and completion of a health and lifestyle questionnaire and sharing some COVID-19 data

Organisation: This study is organised by Dr. Michael Morgan from the Wellcome Sanger Institute

This study was featured as part of our article for Volunteer's week 2022