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Medicine

Professor Salim Khakoo BSc, MBBS, FRCP, MD

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

Professor Salim Khakoo's photo
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Professor Salim Khakoo is Professor of Hepatology, The Associate Dean (Enterprise) 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 liver cancer, 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. Our work is now focused on developing the therapeutic potential of natural killer cells for viral infections and cancer.

Research interests

Salim's work is focused on research into liver disease and innate immunology. Current research is directed towards developing therapeutic interventions that target natural killer cells for cancer. 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. Research in his group is currently funded by the MRC and CRUK

His key scientific 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, with publications in Science Immunology 2017 and PNAS (2010 and 2014)“. These include effect on viral infections including dengue and Zika viruses.

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

NK cell immunotherapy for hepatocellular cancer

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

Department(s)

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate Department(s)

Infection and Immunity Research group

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

Room Number: SGH/LE74A/MP811

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