Dr Ignacio Moraga Gonzalez


Cell Signalling and Immunology, School of Life Sciences

Cell Signalling and Immunology, School of Life Sciences

Ignacio Moraga
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+44 (0)1382 386793


The primary research interest of the lab is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms determining the specificity of signalling activated by cytokine and their receptors. 

Cytokines are a large family of soluble messengers, whose main function is to oversee the correct functioning of the immune system and represent a paradigm for differential signal activation. In response to environmental changes cells secrete cytokines, which in turn act on immune cells and determine the nature, potency and duration of the immune response. 

A unique feature of cytokines is their large functional pleiotropy. Cytokines elicit a wide range of bioactivities over a large subset of responsive cells, which often result in severe toxicity when agonitic cytokine therapies are implemented into the clinic. In order to rationally manipulate cytokine responses, which could fundamentally change the way that we currently treat human diseases, first we need a systematic understanding of how signaling is initiated and propagated by cytokines. 

To date, how a cytokine-cytokine receptor complex generates signalling specificity and how that initial signalling quantum event generated upon ligand binding is transmitted across the intracellular signalling networks to produce biological activities remains very poorly defined. Our current work combines protein engineering, combinatorial biology, mass spectrometry and structural biology to a) identify the signaling networks engaged by key immunomodulatory cytokines across different immune cell subsets (i.e. CD4 and CD8 T cells, B cells, macrophages,…) and b) manipulate cytokine responses to better treat immune disorders via engineering of cytokine surrogate ligands with tailored activities.

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Research interests

Cytokine engineering


Award Year
Personal Fellowships / Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellowship 2016