Epigenetics and immune disease

  • Ballestar group 24_9_2019
Campus ICO-Germans Trias i Pujol

Office (+34) 557 2800 extn 4250
Lab    (+34) 557 2800 extn 4251

Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC)
Can Ruti Campus
Ctra de Can Ruti, Camí de les Escoles s/n
08916 Badalona, Barcelona



Immune cells, from both the myeloid and lymphoid lineages, are highly plastic and need to quickly respond to a number of extracellular signals and pathogens. The differentiation and activation of immune cells requires the timely regulation of gene expression; this depends on the interplay of a variety of elements, including transcription factors and epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic control involves histone modifications and DNA methylation, and is coupled to lineage-specifying transcription factors, upstream signaling pathways and external factors released in the bone marrow, blood and tissue environments. Understanding the mechanisms involved in the deposition of epigenetic marks is not only relevant for a number of immune related diseases, such as autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases and primary immunodeficiencies, but also for the development of hematological malignancies.


Research in our group focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying the deposition and removal of epigenetic modifications in immune cells, the influence of genetic and environmental determinants, and the acquisition of defects in the context of immune-related disease including primary immunodeficiencies, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases. We also investigate the impact of the epigenetic regulation of immune cells in the microtumour environment.

Lines of research 

  • Study of the epigenetic determinants of primary immunodeficiencies such as common variable immunodeficiency and hyper IgM type 2 syndrome
  • Study of the epigenetic determinants of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Study of epigenetic dysregulation in autoinflammatory monogenic disorders
  • Study of epigenetic control in relation to the acquisition of tolerogenesis of myeloid cells
  • Study of the epigenetic dysregulation of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment


Current projects

Epigenetic modulation of osteoblast and osteoclast differentiation in bone lesion associated with multiple myeloma.

Project leader:Antonio García-Gómez
Start date:01/11/2019
End date:30/11/2019