Disease pathogenesis and immunoparasitology

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Dr Joe Turner was awarded an MRC New Investigator Award to address cellular and molecular mechanisms of filarial lymphedema and onchocercal keratitis.  This research will dissect a novel disease pathway, inflammatory angiogenesis, and determine its causal relationship with filarial pathology of the eye, lymphatics and skin and develop pre-clinical models to screen for new therapies.

Dr Britta Urban has continued her studies on the mechanisms of immunity to malaria. The Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (pfEMP1) is the major surface protein expressed on infected red blood cells and is associated with the pathology of severe malaria. Dr Urban’s laboratory investigated whether immune responses to this protein are associated with protection and showed that children with PfEMP1-specific ‘helper’ T cells producing IL-4 remained free from malaria for longer.