Understanding regulatory mechanisms of human T-helper 17 differentiation

    Dissertation: Ankitha Shetty, M.Sc. 14.12.2020, medical microbiology and immunology

    Ankitha Shetty identified novel regulators of human Th17 differentiation and revealed the molecular mechanisms that dictate the lineage specification.  


    Ankitha Shetty’s doctoral studies were collaboratively carried out at Turku Bioscience and IISER Pune and co-supervised by professor Sanjeev Galande and academy professor Riitta Lahesmaa. Besides his professorship in IISER Pune Dr. Galande is also a visiting professor at Turku Bioscience.

    While Th17 cells are critical for mucosal immune responses they also contribute to the  development of autoimmune disorders. So far, Th17 regulatory networks have been investigated using mouse models, but the human counterpart is less studied.

    Ankitha Shetty elucidated the molecular mechanisms that dictate human Th17 differentiation. By studying early proteomic changes in human Th17 cells using mass-spectrometry, she identified novel, potential regulators of the lineage.

    -Strikingly, we discovered significant dissimilarities in human and mouse Th17 proteomes and identified several factors that regulate human Th17 differentiation in an opposite fashion as compared to mouse, she explains.

    -We used functional genomics approaches in combination with genome-wide analysis, investigated the species-specific roles of these factors along with their characteristic functional interplay and potential mechanism of action, she continues.

    Ankitha Shetty’s doctoral work thus provides crucial insights into development of Th17-associated pathologies. The findings from this study underscore the fact that though molecular paradigms are largely conserved between human and mouse, there are important differences. Understanding them is vital for designing immunotherapeutic strategies.


    Ankitha Shetty will have public defense for his doctoral thesis ” Understanding regulatory mechanisms of human T-helper 17 differentiation” at IISER Pune, Pune, India, Monday December 14th, 2020 at 11 am (Finnish time).

    The External Examiner is Prof. Soumen Basak, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi and the Chairperson is Dr. Thomas Pucadyil, IISER Pune. Thesis Supervisor is Professor Sanjeev Galande, IISER Pune, and Co-supervisor is Academy Professor Riitta Lahesmaa, University of Turku. The event is in English. The area of doctoral thesis in medical microbiology and immunology.

    Please contact Anne Lahdenperä to get a Zoom link to the defense.