How our body combats illness and infections
The primary goals of the immune system are to protect the body against invading pathogens and prevent subsequent infection. This powerful system must be carefully balanced to ensure that it does not destroy the body it has evolved to protect. We use a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the receptors and pathways that regulate lymphocyte development and activation.
What are lymphocytes?Lymphocytes are a subset of white blood cells and can be divided into three main classes.
T cells, which develop in the thymus mediate cell-mediated immunity and help B cells generate antibodies;
B cells, which develop in the bone marrow and mediate humoral immunity by secreting antibodies;
Innate lymphocytes, which do not express T cell or B cell receptors for antigen, but play essential roles in an infection.
Each class of lymphocyte functionally interacts with the others to mount an immune response.
Why are they important?The primary goals of the immune system are to protect the body against invading pathogens and prevent subsequent infection. This powerful system must be carefully balanced to ensure that it does not destroy the body it has evolved to protect.
A greater understanding of immunity is central to the goal of promoting a healthier lifespan. We aim to understand the processes that regulate the development, survival and function of lymphocytes.
This is essential to improve vaccines, combat autoimmune diseases, develop immunotherapy or improve the efficiency of organ transplantation.
What is our research?We are studying how, with advancing age, the size of the germinal centre response and the efficacy of vaccinations diminish. We aim to understand the roles of RNA binding proteins in lymphocyte development and activation throughout life.
We are investigating the basic biology of PI3K and applying this knowledge to understand immunity and immunodeficiency. We study the mechanisms that control the interaction of lymphocytes and epithelial cells and the mechanisms by which transcription factors regulate immune function .