Salim Khakoo, Professor of Hepatology

Professor Khakoo’s research is based upon understanding how natural killer cells recognize cancer, especially hepatocellular carcinoma.  He is currently working on novel strategies to activate natural killer cells for cancer immunotherapy. https://futureworlds.com/discover-vaxinc/

Recent paper: Naiyer MM, Cassidy SA, Magri A, Cowton V, Chen K, Mansour S, Kranidioti H, Mbirbindi B, Rettman P, Harris S, Fanning LJ, Mulder A, Claas FHJ, Davidson AD, Patel AH, Purbhoo MA, Khakoo SI. KIR2DS2 recognizes conserved peptides derived from viral helicases in the context of HLA-C. Sci Immunol. 2017;2(15).

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Centre for Cancer Immunology

Dr Salah Mansour, Principal Research Fellow (Associate Professor)

Dr Mansour’s laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying antigen presentation to unconventional T-cells. In particular, we study the roles of CD1 proteins and lipid antigens in T-cell responses to tuberculosis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Recent papers: Melandri D, Zlatareva I, Chaleil R, Dart R, Chancellor A, Roberts N, Wesch D, Kabelitz D, Irving P, John S, Mansour S, Bates P, Vantourout P, Hayday A. The γδTCR combines innate immunity with adaptive immunity by utilizing spatially distinct regions for agonist selection and antigen responsiveness. Nat Immunol. 2018 Dec;19(12):1352-1365. doi: 10.1038/s41590-018-0253-5.

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Centre for Cancer Immunology

Hannah Siddle, Associate Professor of Molecular Immunology

Dr Siddle’s research group investigates contagious cancers that can pass between individuals in a population. We are determining how these cancer cells evade the immune response and how to develop effective vaccines to stop their spread.

Recent paper: Caldwell, A., Coleby, R., Tovar, C., Stammnitz, M. R., Mi Kwon, Y., Owen, R. S., … Siddle, H. V. T. (2018). The newly-arisen devil facial tumour disease 2 (DFT2) reveals a mechanism for the emergence of a contagious cancer. eLife, 7, 1-18. [e35314]. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.35314

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Centre for Cancer Immunology

Francesco Forconi, Professor of Haematology

Professor Forconi aims to understand the immunological mechanisms by which B cells become cancer and how to target their early oncogenic events by novel therapeutic approaches in patients. Currently, his team is generating novel strategies to interrupt the interactions of the tumour B-cell receptor of germinal centre-derived lymphomas with their ligands from the innate immunity, and working on the early detection and therapeutic intervention of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Recent paper: Ibrutinib Therapy Releases Leukemic Surface IgM from Antigen Drive in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients. Drennan S, Chiodin G, D’Avola A, Tracy I, Johnson PW, Trentin L, Steele AJ, Packham G, Stevenson FK, Forconi F. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Apr 15;25(8):2503-2512. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-1286.

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Centre for Cancer Immunology

Jonathan Strefford, Professor of Cancer Genomics

Professor Strefford’s research focuses on characterization of the genetic locus that harbours the low-affinity Fc-gamma receptor genes, that encode proteins that are important in the effective control of inflammation, response to infection and the efficacy of monoclonal antibody therapies for the treatment of cancer. These proteins are encoded by a 200Kb gene cluster at 1p24, that is highly repetitive and difficult to study with traditional technologies. We are currently utilizing long-read sequencing next generation sequencing technologies to generate detailed sequencing maps of this locus in normal and malignant immune cells. These experiments will ultimately provide important insights into how these genes are regulated, that will allow us to improve the way we manage and treat cancer patients.

Recent paper: Rendeiro AF*, Schmidl C*, Strefford JC*, Walewska R, Davis Z, Farlik M, Oscier D, Bock C (2016) Chromatin accessibility maps of chronic lymphocytic leukemia indentify sub-types-specific epigenome signatures and associated transcription regulatory networks. Nature Communications Jun 27;7:11938. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11938

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Centre for Cancer Immunology

Dr Paul Skipp, Director of the Centre for Proteomic Research

Dr Skipp’s research focuses on using proteomics and other ‘omic technologies to address a range of complex biological problems. Research questions span across the areas of respiratory, allergy, infection and cancer, applying proteomics and developing Precision Medicine based approaches to generate a better understanding for the diagnosis, stratification and treatment of disease. More recent focus is on using immunopeptidomics to identify neopeptides as candidates for cancer vaccine development.

Recent paper: Schofield, J. P. R., Burg, D., Nicholas, B., Strazzeri, F., Brandsma, J., Staykova, D., … Djukanović, R. (2019). Stratification of asthma phenotypes by airway proteomic signatures: Sputum proteomic signatures in asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 1-107. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2019.03.013, 10.1016/j.jaci.2019.03.013

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Centre for Cancer Immunology

Tilman Sanchez-Elsner, Associate Professor in Biomedical Sciences

Dr Sanchez-Elsner’s research focuses on the role of macrophages in lung cancer and investigates how microRNAs and exosomes from tumours modulate gene expression in macrophages and affect the recruitment of T-Cells and thus can thwart immunotherapy treatments.

Recent paper: Eschweiler, S., Clarke, J., Ramírez-Suástegui, C. et al. Intratumoral follicular regulatory T cells curtail anti-PD-1 treatment efficacy. Nat Immunol 22, 1052–1063 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41590-021-00958-6

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Dr Marta Ewa Polak, Wellcome Trust Research Fellow

Dr Polak’s research focuses on the mechanisms of regulation of immune responses by human innate immune system cells aimed to identify targets for therapeutic interventions. Since 2016, she has been leading a Systems Immunology Group applying computational, experimental and functional approaches to predictive modelling of immune regulation in health and disease.

Recent paper: Sirvent, S., Vallejo, A.F., Davies, J. et al. Genomic programming of IRF4-expressing human Langerhans cells. Nat Commun 11, 313 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-14125-x

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Dr Tim Fenton, Associate Professor in Cancer Biology

Dr Fenton’s group uses a combination of cell biology, in vivo models and computational methods to investigate how elements of our innate immune response to viral infection become aberrantly activated in cancer cells, and how this process impacts on T-cell mediated responses in solid tumours. He has a particular focus on head and neck cancer.

Selected paper: Chakravarthy, A., Furness, A., Joshi, K., Ghorani, E., Ford, K., Ward, M.J., King, E.V., Lechner, M., Marafioti, T., Quezada, S., Thomas, G.J., Feber, A., Fenton, T.R. (2018) ‘Pan-cancer deconvolution of tumour composition using DNA methylation’ Nature Communications Aug 13;9(1):3220

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Tim Fenton

Dr Simon Crabb, Associate Professor in Medical Oncology

Dr Crabb is a clinical and translational researcher focused on the development of precision medicine treatment strategies for urological malignancies. He is the Chief Investigator on current clinical trials investigating gene expression profiling for treatment selection for bladder cancer, the use of immunotherapy for urinary tract squamous cell carcinoma and molecularly targeted therapy for prostate cancer.

Significant paper: Crabb SJ, Griffiths G, Marwood E, Dunkley D, Downs N, Martin K, Light M, Northey J, Wilding S, Whitehead A, Shaw E, Birtle AJ, Bahl A, Elliott T, Westbury C, Sundar S, Robinson A, Jagdev S, Kumar S, Rooney C, Salinas-Souza C, Stephens C, Khoo V, Jones RJ. Pan-AKT Inhibitor Capivasertib With Docetaxel and Prednisolone in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial (ProCAID). J Clin Oncol. 2021;39(3):190-201. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.01576.

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Dr Chris Hanley, Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow investigating the Tumour Microenvironment

Dr Hanley researches the molecular mechanisms that regulate multicellular ecosystems in tissues and how this impacts cancer progression and therapy response, particularly focussing on lung cancer. His recent work has utilised state-of-the-art human tissue analysis and organotypic culture assays to identify how different cells interact within the tumour microenvironment, identifying  key drivers of disease progression and novel therapeutic strategies.

Significant Paper: Hanley CJ, Henriet E, Sirka OK, Thomas GJ, Ewald AJ. (2020) Tumor-Resident Stromal Cells Promote Breast Cancer Invasion through Regulation of the Basal Phenotype. Mol Cancer Res. 2020 Nov;18(11):1615-1622. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-20-0334. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

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Chris Hanley