Associate Professor Tony Kenna

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Experimental Rheumatology Research Group Leader

PhD in Pharmacology (University College of Dublin)

Dr Tony Kenna is a cellular immunologist and currently a Senior Research Fellow at Queensland University of Technology. His research career has focused on human immunology and identification of novel therapeutic approaches for treatment of immune-mediated diseases. Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS),  psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis are highly heritable. This tells us that genetics plays an important role in their pathogenesis. The genomics revolution of the last decade has greatly expanded understanding of the genetic architecture of many immune-mediated diseases. The next step of discoveryis to determine how newly identified genetic variants alter immune cell and immune system function(s). Working closely with leading human geneticists Dr Kenna's research integrates world-first genomic data with cellular and molecular immunology to unravel the key drivers of disease pathogenesis. His work also enriches fundamental knowledge of human immunology. Dr Kenna works closely with clinicians and has established a curated biobank of cells, serum, RNA, DNA and gut biopsies from over 400 AS patients and 200 healthy controls with which to interrogate altered immune function in patients relative to healthy individuals. He has also used this biobank to investigate fundamental biology of the immune response. He leads a highly skilled and motivated group of research professionals and students. His key research areas include:

  • Human cellular immunology
  • Autoimmunity
  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Immune tolerance
  • Animal models of autoimmunity
  • Functional genomics