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Meet Carl from King's College London/UCB

Pleased to introduce you to our new RTCure member, Carl Coyle. Carl is a PhD student at King's College London/UCB.

"I am very fortunate to be pursuing a PhD in a very exciting area of Immunology with the potential for high impact change in the lives of RA patients. Thank you RTCure for this opportunity!"


The goal of my PhD project is to analyse the changes in the immune system over time in patients who are in drug induced remission of Rheumatoid Arthritis to better understand which patients have achieved a clinical state of ‘operational tolerance’. This would allow us to better identify patients who will benefit more from drug tapering or withdrawal.

To achieve this, I will utilise a modern analytical technique (CyTOF) which will allow us to measure multiple different cell types of the immune system in one sample.

This will allow me to:

  • Analyse changes in the healthy immune system over time.

  • Use a cell biobank (PBMC’s) from a remission in RA cohort (REMIRA) to analyse both the changes in the numbers of each type of immune cells as well as what changes are happening inside each cell (analysis of cellular signalling systems) of patients in remission.

  • To access how these changes in the immune system behave once we either taper or remove drugs from RA patients.

Current work

So far in the project I am in the phase of optimising the CyTOF panel to ensure it is identifying each cell of the immune system correctly. I also begun the process of developing bioinformatic tools which will help me analyse the data generated from my experiments.

Future goals

Utilise the optimised CyTOF panel to analyse changes in the immune system of patients in RA remission over time (samples collected every three months up to a year). These patients also have multiple other measures performed such as clinical disease scoring and imaging techniques. This will allow me to try and see if the changes in the immune system can be correlated with these alternative measurements. I will then try and optimise a way in which I can analyse samples from the patients to see if there are changes happening inside the cells themselves (cell signalling alterations). Doing this could potentially allow us to uncover new targets in the cells for development of novel therapeutics.


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