Dr. Denise Boulanger is a Senior Research Fellow working with Prof. Edd James on antigen processing and presentation with a focus on tapasin function. She completed her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Liege (Belgium) in 1994 working on the neutralisation mechanisms of Bovine viral diarrhoea virus. She developed her expertise in virology and vaccinology in the poxvirus field at the University of Liege (Belgium), at the Compton Animal Health Institute (UK) and at the GSF/TU University in Munich (Germany) where her interest was to develop avipoxviruses as vectors for cancer immunotherapy. Her work since she joined Southampton University in 2002 has been focused on antigen processing and presentation and how modulation of this process impacts CD8 T cell responses.
- Antigen processing and presentation
- Tapasin function and downregulation
- CD8 T cell response
- Immune evasion in cancer
Loss of MHC I surface expression is a common immune escape mechanism in cancer and correlates with poorer prognosis and reduced efficacy of immunotherapy treatments. Downregulation of tapasin, a protein involved in the optimisation of peptide selection for MHC I binding, can result in reduced MHC I surface expression. Dr. Denise Boulanger is investigating the role of tapasin in antigen presentation using quantitative flow cytometry assays, the interaction of tapasin with other chaperones at the cellular level, and how downregulation of tapasin contributes to immune evasion in cancer. Research outcome aims at laying the ground for the development of new therapeutic targets against immune escape tumours variants.
BM6 Y0 HSF1 deputy module lead 2022-2023.
Supervision of under-graduate students, co-supervision of PhD students.