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Professor Aymen Al-Shamkhani BSc, PhD

Professor in Immunology

Professor Aymen Al-Shamkhani's photo
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Professor Aymen Al-Shamkhani is Professor in Immunology within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Professor Al-Shamkhani was appointed to a personal Chair in 2007 after joining the University of Southampton in 1998 as Lecture and then Reader in Immunology. He obtained his BSc (Biochemistry) and PhD from Keele University. He then took up postdoctoral work in molecular and cellular immunology in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford.

Professor Al-Shamkhani’s current research is focussed on providing a better understanding of the signals and molecules that regulate T cell activation and responses. His work on the costimulatory receptor CD27 led to the clinical development of anti-CD27 monoclonal antibodies as potential agents for promoting anti-tumour immunity. He has received external grant funding form a number of organisations including Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, The Wellcome Trust as well as the pharmaceutical industry.


BSc, Biochemistry, Keele University 1989
PhD, Keele University, 1993

Appointments held

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, MRC Cellular Immunology Unit, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, 1993

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, MRC Immunochemistry Unit, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, 1996

Lecturer in Immunology, The School of Medicine, University of Southampton, 1998

Reader in Immunology, The School of Medicine, University of Southampton, 2004

Professor in Immunology, The School of Medicine, University of Southampton, 2007

Research interests

Professor Al-Shamkhani is interested in understanding how signals initiated by engagement of various cell surface receptors integrate during T cell activation in order to regulate effector T cell differentiation and the generation of memory cells.

His research programme focuses on a group of structurally related proteins that belong to the tumour necrosis factor receptor superfamily. Engagement of these receptors has profound effects on the magnitude and quality of the T-cell response and current work in his laboratory is investigating the relative contribution of different members of this superfamily during immune responses and the molecular basis by which they mediate their effects.

The long-term aim of Professor Al-Shamkhani’s research is to develop new approaches for cancer immunotherapy and the treatment of inflammatory diseases. For example, we are developing agonistic immumodulatory monoclonal antibodies and soluble recombinant TNF-like molecules that mimic the natural membrane-anchored proteins. Such agents will be used to boost cancer vaccines, or to promotes ongoing, but ineffectual anti-tumor T cell responses as well as overcoming suppression by regulatory T cells. We also have an active interest in developing agents that ameliorate inflammation but avoid blanket immunosuppression for the treatment of graft versus host disease.


Cancer Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Cancer Sciences Research group

Post-doctoral supervision: 3 fellows

Post-graduate supervision 3 current and 5 completed

Co-directs with Prof Glennie the Southampton Antibody Discovery Programme, a Cancer Research UK funded programme that aims to develop and optimise immunostimulatory antibodies

Member of the Faculty of Medicine Research Management Committee

Member of the Integrated PhD Programme Curriculum Development and Assessment Sub-Committee

Member of the Genetic modification and Biosafety Committee

Ad hoc grant reviewer for the MRC, Wellcome Trust, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and Cancer Research UK

Ad hoc reviewer for J. Exp. Med, PNAS, J. Immunol. and Eur. J. Immunol.

Review Editor for Frontiers in Immunological Memory

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Integrated PhD Programme in The Cell Biology and Immunology of Cancer: Advanced Immunology module co-ordinator. Also delivers lectures and tutorials on T cell activation and autoimmunity

BIOL3037: Delivers lectures and tutorials on T cell subsets and effector function

BM4: Facilitator

BM5: Delivers lectures on adaptive immunity and vaccination

Professor Aymen Al-Shamkhani
Phone: (023) 8120 6285 Fax: (023) 8070 4061 Email:

Room Number: SGH/CCI /MP127

Telephone:(023) 8120 6285

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