I am a cellular immunologist and have been on the academic staff in Newcastle since 1977, sequentially in the departments of Anatomy, Immunology, and then Microbiology and Immunology. I joined the Musculoskeletal Research group in 2002 which was incorporated into the Institute of Cellular Medicine in 2008. I have combined research in immunology with teaching both anatomy (1977-1996) and immunology (1977-present).
British Society for Immunology (since 1975)
Our currently funded research projects are (i) the impact of glycosylation on T lymphocyte recognition in collagen-induced arthritis, which has led to collaboration with Catharien Hilkens in the Musculoskeletal Research Group and John Isaacs in the Immunotherapy Centre to develop protocols to prevent or cure collagen induced arthritis by experimental vaccination with tolerogenic dendritic cells; and (ii) proteoglycan-induced arthritis focussing on the role of matrix degrading enzymes as well as the role of B lymphocytes in the induction of T lymphocyte-mediated pathology in collaboration with Andrew Knight in the Applied Immunobiology Research Group and the impact of arginine-to-citrulline conversion on antigenicity in collaboration with Fai Ng in the Musculoskeletal Research Group.
Animal models are a useful approach to identify important immune mechanisms and potential therapies for translation to the clinic. We focus on the use of ‘humanised’ mice that are transgenic for the Rheumatoid Arthritis-associated genetic markers HLA DR1 and HLA-DR4 and we are particularly interested in novel cellular therapies for the treatment of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
We are also funded to define human T lymphocyte recognition sites (epitope mapping) within the sequence of candidate vaccine antigens of human pathogens using HLA-transgenic mice funded by programme grants 2004-9 and 2010-15 from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) [as contributor to the Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Resource (IEDB) - see www.immuneepitope.org/home.do].
Module leader and teacher for the MRes module Research Trends in Musculoskeletal Disease