Location: Room 314, Ashworth 2, IIIR
Telephone: 0131 650 6763
University of Edinburgh (2004–present)
- MRC-funded PhD
University of Glasgow (1999–2004)
- MSci Immunology
Haptogen Ltd, Aberdeen (2002-2003)
- MSci work placement: Antibody humanisation and in vitro antibody selection using phage display antibodies, against a range of diagnostic target antigens.
TGF-β homologues from parasites: inducers of immune regulation? Using in vivo and in vitro systems to show a role for host and parasite-derived TGF-βs in Treg induction by helminth parasites.
My work focuses mainly on an in vivo system of Brugia malayi infection of mice, where we have shown a significant increase in CD103+FoxP3+ T cells at the effector site. These induced Tregs appear activated (CD103+), can be induced to irrelevant antigens (in adoptive transfer experiments) and are functionally suppressive. Using antibody depletion and transgenic mice such as the TGF-βRDN and FoxP3-GFP strains, we are now investigating whether this Treg induction is due to host or parasite-derived TGF-βs.
I am also investigating a range of TGF-βs from several intestinal nematodes including Heligmosomoides polygyrus, and have identified several new homologues of the mammalians genes using molecular techniques, and confirming their functionality using the mammalian TGF-β bioassay. Preliminary results indicate these may be important in downregulating inappropriate immune responses, and may have implications for the hygiene hypothesis.
I am interested in immune evasion strategies of pathogenic agents, and hope to stay within this field in the future. I currently specialise in TGF-β-induced Treg induction, and hope to be able to apply these theories to other infective systems.