Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
We're launching a new website soon and would love your feedback. See the new design
Biological Sciences
(023) 8059 4202

Dr Hannah V Siddle 

Associate Professor in Molecular Immunology

Dr Hannah V  Siddle's photo

Dr Hannah V Siddle is Lecturer in Molecular Biology within Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Career History

2019 - present: Associate Professor in Molecular Immunology, University of Southampton, UK.
2013-2019: Lecturer in Molecular Biology, University of Southampton, UK.
2011-2013: EMBO Postdoctoral Research Fellow. University of Cambridge, UK.
2009-2011: NHMRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow. University of Cambridge, UK.

Academic Qualifications

2005-2009: PhD (Evolutionary genomics and genetics). University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.
1999-2004: Bachelor of Science (Hons Class I/Bachelor of Law). Macquarie University, NSW, Australia.

Research interests

How does cancer escape from the immune system?

My research is focused on how the immune system distinguishes self from non-self, uncovering the molecular mechanisms that control the recognition of cancer cells, pathogens and non-self cells. This work has applications to understanding how a pathogen interacts with its host and why some cancers are more aggressive and malignant than others.

My laboratory uses non-self and contagious cancers to understand the barrier between self and non-self, immune recognition and pathogen evolution. Cancer is not usually an infectious disease, but in some cases tumour cells acquire the ability to pass between individuals in a population. These cancers can be deadly to the species they infect and also challenge our understanding of how tumours grow and evolve. We focus on two examples in the Tasmanian devil, Devil Facial Tumour Disease 1 and 2, in addition to other cancer models, including choriocarcinoma, a cancer of the foetus that can invade maternal tissues.

The proteins responsible for recognising pathogens and cancer cells are called Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules, which are variable between individuals in a population. These molecules are essential for communicating to the immune system that a cell is self, non-self, infected or malignant. Our research is focused on why and how the MHC system 'breaks down' and fails to recognise these cancers.

Media articles on contagious cancers, immune evasion and vaccine strategies:

Scientists aim to find a vaccine to save the Tasmanian Devil Solent TV on YouTube describing new efforts at a vaccine against DFTD.

Saving The Devil An interactive multimedia from the Your Genome site of the Wellcome Genome Campus, which tells the story of Devil Facial Tumour Disease and outlines what we are doing to save the species. It is aimed at primary school children.

How Tumours Evade the Immune system An interview with the Naked Scientists.
Vaccine hope for Tasmanian devil tumour disease A nature news article explaining the new strategies for a vaccine against DFTD.

MPhil/PhD research:

Investigation of the molecular mechanisms behind immune escape and recognition of a contagious cancer.
Supervisors: Dr Hannah Siddle and Professor Tim Elliott
Funded by the Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust

Advanced Devil Facial Tumour Disease
A DFTD biopsy stained for B2-microglobulin (MHC class I). Host stromal cells are stain for B2-microglobulin (brown), while DFTD cells (blue nuclei) are B2-microglobulin negative
DFTD biopsy

Research group

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Affiliate research group

Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS)

Research project(s)

Identifying peptide candidates for a vaccine against the contagious cancer, Devil Facial Tumour Disease

Cancer is not usually an infectious disease, but in some cases tumour cells acquire the ability to pass between individuals in a population. We are particularly interested in the two contagious cancers that circulate in the Tasmanian devil population, DFT1 and DFT2. Our research is focused on why and how the MHC system ‘breaks down’ in the case of contagious cancers.

Sort via:TypeorYear


Programme Lead for Biochemistry

Module Coordinator
Biol1025 Fundamentals of Cell Biology and Physiology

Biol1025 Fundamentals of Cell Biology and Physiology
Biol1027 The Human Genome and Disease
BIOL2022 Immunology, Infection and Inflammation
BIOL3064 Cancer Chromosome Biology
BIOL3022 Cell Signaling in Health and Disease

Dr Hannah V Siddle
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 85/3039/M55

Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings