Supervisors: Dr Catharien Hilkens, Dr Amy Anderson and Dr Abdul Mannan Baru
I studied Biomedical Sciences at Newcastle University; throughout my degree I developed an appreciation for how complex our immune system is and how it can regulate itself. Therapies targeting cells that are important in regulating the immune system really interested me as these can offer much better outcomes than current therapies using steroids to suppress immune responses as these treatments can be much more specific minimising unwanted side effects.
Project Title: Mapping the road to peripheral tolerance
My project aims to address the gap in current tolerogenic dendritic cell (tolDC) therapies. TolDCs have the ability to induce regulatory T cells (Tregs) and re-establish tolerance where there has been a breach in regulation, for example in autoimmunity, transplant rejection and allergy. A variety of protocols detailing in-vitro generation of tolDCs are now available, however methodological differences have resulted in heterogeneity between tolDC products; and it is likely that differences in these products will affect which regulatory pathways are initiated. Further investigation to establish which tolDC type would be more appropriate for which pathology is required. To this aim, my project is focusing on comparing different methods of tolDC generation; looking at phenotypical changes and observing how these effect Treg function. After establishing which tolDC types I would like to focus on, my placement at GlaxoSmithKline will focus on subjecting these tolDC types to different T cell functional assays to study their effect. Ultimately providing a referencing tool detailing which tolDC type will likely control which T cell subset.
I am a student representative for both the BBSRC DTP Cohort 7 and Immunology North East.