The University of Southampton
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Professor Salim Khakoo BSc, MBBS, FRCP, MD

Professor of Hepatology, Associate Dean Enterprise, Director of Biomedical Research (IFLS),

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Professor Salim Khakoo is Professor of Hepatology, The Associate Dean (Enterprise) for the Faculty of Medicine and Director of Biomedical Research (IFLS). He is also Secretary for The Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland.

Natural killer cells are an untapped therapeutic resource, which should be harnessed for patient benefit

I have an interest in chronic liver disease and immunology, in particular viral hepatitis and the innate immune system. I was a research fellow at The Royal Free Hospital and then a post-doctoral fellow with Peter Parham at Stanford, USA. I returned to the UK with an MRC Clinician Scientist award to study Natural killer cells and hepatitis C, and subsequently a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship award, to research more deeply into innate immunity and hepatitis C.
My key achievements to date are:

  1. Discovery of an association between inhibitory KIR and the outcome of HCV infection. This work was published in Science, with an accompanying editorial. It defined a new model for both HCV infection and also for how natural killer cells work. 
  2. The identification of NK cells as key components in the immune response to HCV both from genetic studies, but also functional work
  3. The identification of MHC class I bound peptides as a novel control mechanism for NK cells: “peptide antagonism of NK cells” (published in PNAS with an accompanying editorial). The implications for this work is that this phenomenon represents a mechanism for recognition of virally infected cells, as peptides have recently been shown to be important for the NK cell responses to HIV.
  4. Discovery of the rapid evolution of NK cell receptors (published in Immunity).
  5. Developing international collaborations studying: a) the genetics of HCV (with NIH and Johns Hopkins Hospitals) leading to the discovery of IL-28B as a determinant in the spontaneous resolution of HCV infection (Nature 2009); and b) NK cells and peptides leading to the description of peptide on the outcome of HIV infection (Nature 2011)

Research

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Research interests

Salim's work is focused on research into chronic liver disease and immunology, particularly viral hepatitis and the innate immune system. He was a research fellow at The Royal Free Hospital and then a post-doctoral fellow with Peter Parham at Stanford, USA. He was awarded an MRC Clinician Scientist award to return to the UK to study Natural killer cells and hepatitis C, and subsequently a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship award, to research more deeply into innate immunity and hepatitis C.

His key achievements to date are:

1. Discovery of an association between inhibitory KIR and the outcome of HCV infection. This work was published in Science, with an accompanying editorial. It defined a new model for both HCV infection and also for how natural killer cells work.

2. The identification of NK cells as key components in the immune response to HCV both from genetic studies, but also functional work

3. The identification of MHC class I bound peptides as a novel control mechanism for NK cells: “peptide antagonism of NK cells” (published in PNAS with an accompanying editorial). The implications for this work is that this phenomenon represents a mechanism for recognition of virally infected cells, as peptides have recently been shown to be important for the NK cell responses to HIV.

He has a number of international collaborations studying: a) the genetics of HCV (with NIH and Johns Hopkins Hospitals) leading to the discovery of IL-28B as a determinant in the spontaneous resolution of HCV infection (Nature 2009); and b) NK cells and peptides leading to the description of peptide on the outcome of HIV infection (Nature 2011)

Current Research Projects

Peptides and natural killer cells

The aim of these projects is to understand how peptides control natural killer cells and use this knowledge to develop new immunotherapeutics

The “Cottage” project

This is a community-based on the Isle of Wight, performed with local clinicians and pharmacists to identify and treat people living with hepatitis C

Natural Killer cells and the liver

Relatively little is known about natural killer cells within the microenvironment of the liver. We are actively researching these to understand how they may contribute to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis

Research group

Clinical and Experimental Sciences Academic Units

Affiliate research group

Infection and Immunity Research group

Articles

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Book Chapter

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Creative Media and Artefacts

Professor Salim Khakoo
Email: S.I.Khakoo@southampton.ac.uk

Room Number:SGH/AB215/MP801

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