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News and events


See the programme for our MCCIR AZ/GSK Update Seminar Series (PDF).


June 2017

MCCIR researcher is the first recipient of multi-million pound Kennedy Trust award for rheumatic disease research

John Grainger at work in the lab

A researcher at Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR) is set to establish a world-class research program that aims to shed new light on rheumatoid arthritis, after becoming the first ever awardee of a £2.5 million Kennedy Trust Senior Fellowship.

Established in 1966, The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research is a charity best-known for its support of the ground-breaking work by Profs Marc Feldmann and Ravinder Maini on identifying TNF as a therapeutic target for inflammatory diseases. Most of its current funding is focussed on supporting the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford. Now, for the first time in its history, the Trust decided to broaden its funding to other institutions by launching a new Kennedy Trust Senior Fellowship scheme.

A panel of international experts appointed by the Trust reviewed applications from fifteen of the UK’s top universities and the MCCIR’s Dr John Grainger was selected as the first awardee.

A major focus of the award is to understand how two of our most important bodily systems, the immune system and the nervous system, work together to program the actions of one cell-type; the macrophage. Dr Grainger will be working with the Centre for Musculoskeletal Research and NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, using blood and joint samples provided by patients from The Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. John’s research will unravel the complex communication between macrophages and pathways previously attributed to the nervous system, to identify novel therapeutic opportunities.

Dr Grainger said: “It is really a superb opportunity for me, The University of Manchester and The Kennedy Trust to diversify our efforts to understand rheumatoid arthritis. This award allows me to take risks and employ my basic immunology expertise in an area of cutting-edge translational science that has the potential to make a difference to patients’ lives.”

Describing the unique opportunities The University of Manchester provides for Dr Grainger’s research the Head of the School of Biological Sciences, Professor Jane Worthington, said: “We are thrilled that John’s excellent career to date has been rewarded in this manner. We are committed to developing the next generation of world-class research academics. Immunology and musculoskeletal sciences are priority areas for the University and so an award that unites the two is particularly exciting.”

Professor Hill Gaston, Chair of the Kennedy Trust’s Scientific Committee, commented: “Dr Grainger’s proposal, selected from an extremely strong field, is ground-breaking and innovative and we are delighted to be able to support his work in this way.”


Welcome to Bethany-Rose Jebson and Amanda Ridley who are doing their Masters in the Cook and MacDonald labs respectively.

Welcome also to Andrea Luengas and Naomi Robinson who are doing their Masters in the Saunders’ lad and to Tooba Sehar who is doing her Masters in the Lopez-Castejon lab.

Welcome also to Dr Sean Blandin Knight who is an Academic Clinical Fellow in the Hussell lab.


Freya Svedberg from the MacDonald lab presented a poster on her work entitled ‘The lung environment controls the ability of macrophages to respond to type-2 inflammation’ at the Keystone ‘Mononuclear phagocytes in health, immune defence and disease’ meeting in Austin, Texas (April 30th - May 4th).

Dr Joanne Konkel gave a talk at Cardiff University on Training immune function at the oral barrier.

Professor Andrew MacDonald at the inaugural British Society of Immunology - Chinese Society of Immunology joint symposium in Immunology in Shanghai

Professor Andrew MacDonald was part of a delegation of UK immunologists (including Andrew McMichael, Anne O’Garra, Peter Openshaw, Tim Elliot, Arne Akbar and Enzo Cerundolo) invited to speak at the inaugural British Society of Immunology - Chinese Society of Immunology joint symposium in Immunology in Shanghai (May 24th - 28th).


Andreasson A.S.I., Borthwick L.A., Gillespie C., Jiwa K., Scott J., Henderson P., Mayes J., Romano R., Roman M., Ali S., Fildes J.E., Marczin N., Dark J.H., Fisher A.J.; DEVELOP-UK Investigators. 2017 The role of interleukin-1β as a predictive biomarker and potential therapeutic target during clinical ex vivo lung perfusion. J Heart Lung Transplant. 2017 May 12. pii: S1053-2498(17)31793-X. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2017.05.012. [Epub ahead of print]

Mayer J.U., Demiri M., Agace W.W., MacDonald A.S., Svensson-Frej M., Milling S.W.. 2017 Different populations of CD11b+ dendritic cells drive Th2 responses in the small intestine and colon. Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 9;8:15820. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15820.

Social responsibility

Hay Festival

Dan Davis in discussion with neuroscientist Prof Alasdair Coles

Professor Dan Davis participated in six events at this year’s Hay Festival in Wales, including a Royal Society Panel discussion about gene technology and a discussion about the connections between our immune and nervous systems with neuroscientist Prof Alasdair Coles (pictured).

3 Minute Thesis

On Wednesday 7th June, Katie Walwyn-Brown competed in the University final of 3 Minute Thesis. Contestants from across the faculties presented their PhD research in 3 minutes in a bid to win the audience over. There were some excellent talks and Katie won the audience vote for the best talk!! Well done Katie.

April 2017


Welcome to Dr Oliver Brand who has joined the Hussell lab as a post-doc.

Welcome to Dr Robert Metcalf who is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow, he is a consultant medical oncologist at the Christie Hospital whose interests lie in onco-immunology especially related to head and neck tumours. He will be working with the Hussell group.


Congratulations to Dr Peter Cook who was awarded a Springboard grant from the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Invited presentations

Dr Parminder Chaggar from the Fildes lab gave two poster presentations at the European Society for Cardiology annual meeting in Paris April 29th – 2nd May; "Pre-existing inflammation does not influence onset or severity of heart failure and Serum decorin correlates with heart failure phenotype."


Minutti C.M., Jackson-Jones .LH., García-Fojeda B., Knipper J.A., Sutherland T.E., Logan N., Rinqvist E., Guillamat-Prats R., Ferenbach D.A.,Artigas A., Stamme C., Chroneos Z., Zaiss .DM., Casals C., Allen J.E. Local amplifiers of IL-4Rα-mediated macrophage activation promote repair in lung and liver. Science. 2017 May 11. pii: eaaj2067. doi: 10.1126/science.aaj2067. [Epub ahead of print]

Morgan D.J., Davis D.M. 2017 Distinct Effects of Dexamethasone on Human Natural Killer Cell Responses Dependent on Cytokines. Front Immunol. Apr 13;8:432. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00432. eCollection 2017.

Stone J., Ball A.L., Critchley W.R., Major T., Edge R.E., Amin K., Clancy M., Fildes J.E. 2016 Ex vivo normothermic perfusion reduces kidney immunogenicity prior to transplantation via removal of passenger leukocytes. Kidney International Reports November 2016 Volume 1, Issue 4, Pages 230–239

Tracy to the Francis Crick Institute

Professor Tracy Hussell was invited to the Francis Crick Institute to be on the panel for the Crick/Nature World Immunology Day: Collaborating to Beat Lung Infections and Asthma on the 5th of May 2017.

Along with Professor Peter Openshaw, Professor Caetano Reis e Sousa and Professor Catherine Hawrylowicz and representatives from Nature publishing, Tracy talked about collaborating to beat lung infections and asthma.

LISTEN (.mp3)

MCCIR Director elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Professor Tracy Hussell, Director of the MCCIR, has been elected to the prestigious Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the UK’s independent body representing the diversity of medical science. Tracy is one of 46 UK researchers elected as Fellows in recognition of their contribution to biomedical and health research, the generation of new knowledge in medical sciences and its translation into benefits to society. This year’s intake saw 17 women scientists elected which at 37% is the highest female cohort to date.

Professor Hussell commented: It is a great honour to be elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, particularly as part of such a large female contingent. Over my entire career I have been supported by a strong “scientific family” that was generated around Professor Brigitte Askonas who would have been thrilled by this news.

This year's elected Fellows have expertise that spans women’s health, immunology, public health and infectious disease among many other fields. President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, commented: “The election of these 46 exceptional biomedical and health researchers is a well-deserved honour. Each newly elected Fellow has made an outstanding impact in the community, contributing to the development of better healthcare - from fundamental scientific understanding to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. I am delighted to welcome them to the Academy and greatly look forward to working with them all in the future.”

“The Academy has worked hard to ensure our Fellowship represents the true diversity of biomedical science,” added Professor Philippa Saunders FMedSci, Registrar of the Academy of Medical Sciences, "We are delighted this cohort of Fellows sees us welcome the highest proportion of women ever elected - a testament to the very many brilliant women at the forefront of world leading medical science. In the coming year we will maintain our focus on increasing diversity, and hope that the proportion of women Fellows elected - and the diversity of our Fellowship more broadly – continues to grow in future."

381 candidates were considered for this year’s Fellowships with the final 46 selected from a shortlist of 109. Professor Hussell will join the other new Fellows at a ceremony on 28 June 2017 when they will be formally admitted to the Academy.

March 2017


Welcome to Dr Sylvia Lui a post-doc in the Hussell lab and to Faiza Mahmood a Masters student in the Konkel lab.


Congratulations to Dr Jiakai Wu who has been awarded an EAACI Congress Scholarship to attend the EAACI Congress 2017 to be held in Helsinki, Finland, 17-21 June 2017.

Invited presentations

Dr John Grainger and Dr Tovah Shaw were invited to The Kennedy Institute, University of Oxford by Fiona Powrie. John gave a seminar about "Long-range training of mononuclear phagocytes in infection and injury" and Tovah discussed her latest macrophage data with the Powrie lab.

Dr Peter Cook attended and gave a talk at the 53rd Annual British Society of Medical Mycology (BSMM) scientific meeting in Birmingham on ‘Defining key checkpoints in dendritic cell control of anti-fungal immunity and inflammation’.


Stone J.P., Mohamud M., Amin K., Critchley W.R., Edge R.J., Clancy M.J., Ball A.L., Fildes J.E. 2017 Characterising the early inflammatory contribution of the donor kidney following reperfusion. Nephrology, dialysis and transplantation Published 27th Feb https://doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfw464

Dholakia S., Fildes J.E., Friend P.J. 2017 The use of kinase inhibitors in solid organ transplantation. Transplant Rev (Orlando). Mar 25. pii: S0955-470X(17)30003-4. doi: 10.1016/j.trre.2017.02.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Grabiec A.M., Denny N., Doherty J.A., Happonen K.E. (AZ), Hankinson J., Connolly E., Fife M.E., Fujimori T., Fujino N., Goenka A., Holden S., Tavernier G., Shah R., Cook P.C., MacDonald A.S., Niven R.M., MD, Dahlbäck B. (AZ), Fowler S.J., Simpson A., Hussell T. 2017 Diminished airway macrophage expression of the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase is associated with defective efferocytosis in asthma. J. Allergy Clin Immunol. In press

Cocco M, Pellegrini C, Martínez Banaclocha H, Giorgis M, Marini E, Costale A, Miglio G, Fornai M, Antonioli L, Lopez-Castejon G, Tapia-Abellan A, Angosto D, Hafner-Bratkovič I, Regazzoni L, Blandizzi C, Pelegrin P, Bertinaria M. 2017 Development of an Acrylate Derivative Targeting the NLRP3 Inflammasome for the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. J Med Chem. 2017 Apr 14. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b01624. [Epub ahead of print]

Kelly A., Houston S.A., Sherwood E., Casulli J., Travis M.A. 2017 Regulation of Innate and Adaptive Immunity by TGFβ. Adv Immunol. 2017;134:137-233. doi: 10.1016/bs.ai.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

Konkel J.E., Zhang D., Zanvit P., Chia C., Zangarle-Murray T., Jin W., Wang S., Chen W. 2017 Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling in Regulatory T Cells Controls T Helper-17 Cells and Tissue-Specific Immune Responses. Immunity. 2017 Apr 18;46(4):660-674. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.03.015.

MCCIR and The Wellcome Trust

Drs Gloria Lopez-Castejon, John Grainger, Amy Saunders and Matt Hepworth attended the annual Sir Henry Dale fellows meeting at The Wellcome Trust in London. They spent the day finding out what other Wellcome Trust fellows are doing.

Social responsibility

MCCIR in the London Marathon

John Stone ran the London Marathon for Kids Kidney Research

Kids Kidney Research ran a news story on John Stone as he ran the London marathon for them this year. John ran the marathon in a very impressive 2hrs 48 minutes and raised £630 for Kids Kidney Research (KKR). He has now raised over £6000 for kidney research from his marathon runs. KKR is a charity close to John’s heart because of his nephew has polycystic kidney disease. This charity fund vital research into various kidney diseases in children so it is something he is passionate about supporting. John’s fundraising page can be found here if you would like to donate.

Manchester Grammar School

Dr Mark Travis gave a talk at the Manchester Grammar School Philosophical Society on 17th March 2017, which was founded in 1869 by Manchester Grammar School students and is believed to be the second oldest scientific society in the world after the Royal Society! The talk was entitled "Gut reactions: the good and the bad of the immune system in the intestine".

Body Experience 2017

Body Experience was held on the 18th of March at Manchester Museum, during which the MCCIR presented ‘The Immune System’ research activity station. There were an estimated 2000 visitors to the museum on the day, making it a busy day. The bugs and ducks proved as popular as ever and hopefully informed a few people about the immune system.

A huge thank you to all those who came and helped out.

Watch a video of the day

Body Experience 2017

February 2017


Welcome to Chris Jagger who has joined the Hussell lab as a Research Assistant.


Congratulations to Mark Fife from the Hussell lab on passing his PhD viva.

Congratulations to Tim Entwistle and Bhuvana Krishnamoorthy from the Fildes lab for passing their PhD viva.

Invited presentations

Dr Tara Sutherland presented a poster entitled Chitinase-like proteins: the missing link in allergen induced neutrophil inflammation?” at AZ/UoM Science Collaboration Day; 9th Feb, Alderley Park.

Prof Tracy Hussell presented her work on models of lung Inflammation and how these can be used to assess safety at AZ/UoM Science Collaboration Day; 9th Feb, Alderley Park.

Dr James Fildes gave an invited talk at the American Cardiothoracic Transplantation meeting in Vail, Colorado called 'Altering donor organ immunity via ex-vivo perfusion'

Will Critichley from the Fildes lab was shortlisted for the Early Career Basic Science Award by the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and gave a talk at their Annual Scientific Sessions 2017 in Washington DC. This talk was titled 'In vitro and in vivo effects of CMR on circulating leukocytes'


Lopes F.B., Bálint S., Valvo S., Felce J.H., Hessel E.M., Dustin M.L., Davis D.M. 2017 Membrane nanoclusters of FcγR1 segregate from inhibitory SIRPα upon activation of human macrophages. Journal of Cell Biology March 13, https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.201608094

Grainger J.R., Konkel J., Zangerle-Murray T., Shaw T.N. 2017 Macrophages in gastrointestinal homeostasis and inflammation. Pflugers Arch. Mar 10. doi: 10.1007/s00424-017-1958-2. [Epub ahead of print]

Ruckerl D., Campbell S.M. Duncan S., Sutherland T.E., Jenkins S.J., Hewitson J.P., Barr T.A., Jackson-Jones .LH., Maizels R.M., Allen J.E (2017) Macrophage origin limits functional plasticity in helminth- bacterial co-infection. PLoS Pathog 13(3)

McFarlane A.J., McSorley H.J., Davidson D.J., Fitch P.M., Errington C., Mackenzie K.J., Gollwitzer E.S. Johnston C.J., MacDonald A.S., Edwards M.R., Harris N.L., Marsland B.J., Maizels R.M., Schwarze J. 2017 Enteric helminth-induced type-I interferon signalling protects against pulmonary virus infection through interaction with the microbiota. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Feb 11. pii: S0091-6749(17)30229-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.01.016. [Epub ahead of print]

Bulfone-Paus S., Nilsson G., Draber P., Blank U., Levi-Schaffer F. 2017 Positive and Negative Signals in Mast Cell Activation. Trends in Immunology, in Press, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.it.2017.01.008

MCCIR in the press

On February 17th the Davis lab hosted a BBC film crew, who were collecting material for an upcoming series. One of the episodes will feature the immune system, so Prof Davis was filmed at one of his lab’s super-resolution microscopes discussing the immune synapse. ‘It’s fantastic that the immune system will feature in a high profile documentary and fun that we could showcase the MCCIR and our state-of-the-art microscopy at the same time’.

Social responsibility


On Monday 20th February, Katie Walwyn-Brown from the Davis lab competed in the Manchester Regional Final of Famelab. Famelab is a science communication competition where researchers present their favourite parts of science in entertaining short talks, with no powerpoint allowed! It was a fun evening with talk topics ranging from how spicy food affects your body to why some people have perfect memories. Katie’s talk on body clocks and the immune system won the wildcard prize and will be put forward with the other regional wild cards for a possible place in the UK final.

January 2017

MCCIR in the press

Health benefits to chewing your food.

Dr Joanne Konkel from the MCCIR was recently in the press! Her article on the health benefits of chewing your food was highlighted in both The Express and Daily Mirror.

The article can be found at Immunity: On-going Mechanical Damage from Mastication Drives Homeostatic Th17 Cell Responses at the Oral Barrier and a review at Immunity: Th17 Cells Require You to Chew before You Swallow.

MCCIR at Latitude Festival 2016

Following on from Dr Pippa Kennedy’s, "The immune System: Health and Happiness" talk at Latitude Festival 2016, a podcast has been put together in which Pippa is joined by Alex Kogan to talk all things health, happiness and the immune system.

Latitude Festival 2016 sign

Professor Daniel Davis was in The Guardian, talking about the secrets of people who never get sick.


Welcome to Dr Matt Hepworth, a Sir Henry Dale Wellcome Trust Fellow who has joined the MCCIR. Matt is based in the AV Hill Building and his lab includes Felipe Melo Gonzalez, who did his PhD with Mark Travis.

Amy Wilcock is an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) in Paediatrics supported by the NHS England Northwest and NIHR. She will be working on a joint project between Peter Arkwright and Professor Silvia Bulfone-Paus and has joined the Bulfone-Paus lab. Her project will focus on Mast cell-induced allergic inflammation: the role of tryptases.

Invited presentations

In January 2017, Dr Mark Travis gave a talk at TGF-beta in Immunity, Inflammation and Cancer Keystone conference in Taos, New Mexico entitled "Human Blood Monocyte and Intestinal Macrophage Populations Regulate TGF-beta Activity via Expression of the Integrin Alphav beta8".


Pellegrini C., Antonioli L., Lopez-Castejon G., Blandizzi C., and Fornai M. 2017 Canonical and Non-Canonical Activation of NLRP3 Inflammasome at the Crossroad between Immune Tolerance and Intestinal Inflammation Front. Immunol., 25 January


Dr Peter Cook attended the Gordon Research Seminar and Conference (GRS/GRC) on Immunology of Fungal Infections in Galveston, Texas, USA, and won the poster prize (Title: Dendritic cells are required to mediate and sustain type-2 and type-17 allergic inflammation against Aspergillus fumigatus).


Professors Hussell, MacDonald, Davis, Bulfone-Paus and Drs Travis, Lopez-Castejon and Fildes travelled down to Stevenage in early February for a day of discussions about potential future collaborative projects. The day was extremely productive with a number of projects being identified and a number of future meetings already in the diary!

Social responsibility

Body Experience 2017

Body Experience is back for 2017! Funded by the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, this fantastic family friendly public engagement event is being held at Manchester Museum on Saturday 18th of March 2017. The event takes visitors through a guided tour of the body and the MCCIR will be hosting its ‘Inflammation: the good and the bad’ activity station.

If you would like to get involved or have new idea for the activity station, please contact Fiona.

December 2016


Welcome to Dr Samantha Smith who has joined the Davis lab as a post-doc, and to Dr Christine Chew who has joined the Hussell lab as an ARUK clinical training fellow.

Invited presentations

Dr John Grainger gave a presentation at The University of Edinburgh entitled "Long-range training of mononuclear phagocytes in infection and injury”.

Dr James Crooks and Prof Andrew MacDonald attended a progress meeting with Immodulon Therapeutics to discuss their ongoing collaboration investigating the impact of Mycobacterium obuense on innate and adaptive immunity.

Dr Joanne Konkel presented "Training immune function at the oral barrier" at the University of Birmingham.

Cecilia Forss presented some of her PhD data on epithelial cell:dendritic cell crosstalk during allergic immune responses and Dr Tara Sutherland presented a poster on Chitinase-like proteins: the missing link in allergen-induced neutrophilic inflammation?” at the 3rd International Severe Asthma Forum, held in Manchester on 17-19 November 2016.

Professor Andrew MacDonald gave a seminar on dendritic cells and type 2 inflammation at Imperial College (Hammersnith), on the 24 November 2016.


Prof Judi Allen and Prof Andrew MacDonald were awarded a grant of by the Royal Society Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment Scheme, to expand the capacity of the Manchester Gnotobiotic Facility. £100,882.28

Prof Silvia Bulfone-Paus was awarded a British Skin Foundation grant to investigate Mast cells in psoriasis: a therapeutic target? £80, 416

Steve Dixon, Professor Tracy Hussell and Dr Anu Goenka were successfully awarded £1,974 by the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) for Steve’s intercalated BSc project entitled: “Cholesterol metabolism and innate mycobacterial immunity”.


Congratulations to John Stone from the Fildes group who passed his PhD viva.

Congratulations to Dr Tara Sutherland who won the poster prize at the 3rd International Severe Asthma Forum, held in Manchester on 17-19 November.


Weiss G., Lai C., Fife M.E, Grabiec A.M., Tildy B., Snelgrove R.J., Xin G., Lloyd C.M., Hussell T. 2016 Reversal of TREM-1 ectodomain shedding and improved bacterial clearance by intranasal metalloproteinase inhibitors. Mucosal Immunology 2016 Dec 14. doi: 10.1038/mi.2016.104. [Epub ahead of print].

Seoane P.I., Rückerl D., Casaravilla C., Barrios A., Pittini A, MacDonald A.S., Allen J.E., and Díaz A. 2016 Particles from Echinococcus granulosus laminated layer inhibit IL-4 and growth factor-driven Akt phosphorylation and proliferative responses in macrophages. Scientific Reports. 6:39204.

Dutzan,N., Abusleme,L., Bridgeman H., Greenwell-Wild T., Zangerle-Murray,T. Fife M.E., Bouladoux N., Linley H., Brenchley L., Wemyss K., Calderon G., Hong B., Break T.J., Bowdish D.M.E., Lionakis M.S., Jones S.A., Trinchieri G., Diaz P.I., Belkaid Y., Konkel J.E., and Moutsopoulos N.M. 2017 On-going Mechanical Damage from Mastication Drives Homeostatic Th17 Cell Responses at the Oral Barrier. Immunity 46, 1–15.

AstraZeneca visit to MCCIR

Matt Catley and Suman Mitra from the RIA iMed at AZ came to visit the MCCIR on the 1st of December 2016. Suman Mitra gave an interesting presentation on ‘A rational structural design approach to fine-tune IL-2 signalling, and elucidating IL-2-induced gene regulatory networks’.


The MCCIR was well represented at the BSI congress in Liverpool (6-9th December 2016) with a number of people presenting talks:

  • Tissue specific imprinting of innate immunity in the development of tumour metastasis: Dr Amy Adlard
  • Determining important regulators of pulmonary immunity to the bacterium francisella tularensis: Joshua Casulli
  • Immune cell regulation and communication on the nano-scale: Prof Daniel Davis
  • Intestinal dendritic cell subsets in the regulation of T-cell homeostasis via the integrin αvβ8-TGFβ pathway: Dr Stephanie Houston
  • Lytic cell death induces the release of the anti-inflammatory molecule IL-18bp (interleukin-18 binding protein) Pablo Palazon
  • Human peripheral blood monocytes and intestinal macrophage populations activate TGFβ via expression of the integrin αvβ8: Dr Elinor Shuttleworth
MCCIR members at the BSI

Numerous posters were presented by the Centre, a number of which were nominated for a poster prize:

  • Dendritic cell production of CD17 is required for optimal TH2 induction and development against both helminths and allergen Peter Cook
  • Interplay between YM-1 and Relmα determines the outcome of lung repair during nematode infection Tara Sutherland
  • Regulating macrophage responses in a type-2 setting Freya Svedberg
  • Danger signals regulate USP7-mediated inflammasome activation in macrophages Jonathan Worboys
  • Dendritic cell network in the gingiva in health vs disease Tamsin Zangerle-Murray

Posters were also presented by: Lauren Cholewa, Emma Connelly, James Crooks, Mark Fife, Cecilia Forss, Joanne Konkel, Siddarth Krishnan, Holly Linley, Ben Mulhearn, Alex Phythian-Adams, Tovah Shaw, Eleanor Sherwood, Katja Srpan, Katie Walwyn-Brown, Kelly Wemyss.

2nd Annual Toxo UK Conference

Dr John Grainger recently hosted the 2nd Annual Toxo UK conference here at The University of Manchester. Over 50 people attended to hear a diverse range of talks about Toxoplasma biology and immunology including talks from Sheena Cruickshank and John Grainger.

TGF-ß in Immunity, Inflammation and Cancer

Dr Joanne Konkel is co-organising, with Wanjun Chen and Richard Flavell, the TGF-ß in Immunity, Inflammation and Cancer Keystone meeting to be held on January 9-13, 2017 Sagebrush Inn & Suites, Taos, New Mexico, USA.

East African Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Uganda

Dr Anu Goenka spent a week at Mulago Hospital in Uganda as an invited lecturer for the East African Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which is run by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The diploma is a 3-month intensive field course for doctors who plan to work in Sub-Saharan Africa, and includes scholarships for East African doctors to attend. Mulago hospital is one of the largest hospitals in Sub-Saharan Africa and has an official capacity of 1790 patients, but the hospital is commonly said to care for over 3000 inpatients. Anu taught sessions on childhood TB, HIV and CNS infection as well as clinical teaching on the paediatric wards.

Mulago Hospital Mulago Hospital


On the 23 November 2016, Professor Andrew MacDonald hosted Matt Edwards, Director and Lead Immunologist at the Allergic Inflammation DPU GSK Stevenage. Matt was here to meet with Emma Houlder, a joint BBSRC CASE PhD student working on dendritic cells and regulatory T cells during pulmonary type 2 inflammation. Matt also met with James Fildes and Mark Travis.

Helminths and allergy in Uganda

On Dec 3rd-8th Prof Andrew MacDonald, Prof Richard Grencis and Dr Jo Pennock travelled to the UVRI in Entebbe, Uganda, for a capacity building visit which was hosted by Prof Alison Elliot and funded by the BBSRC Global Challenges Research Fund. While there, they spent a lively day at Makerere University, Kampala giving seminars and talking science with the students. They also spent a day visiting several of the villages involved in an ongoing study into helminths and allergy in the Koome island, Lake Victoria. Finally, a day was spent giving seminars and discussing ongoing and potential future projects with the PhD and Masters students at UVRI. Altogether it was a very successful trip that will hopefully lead to further collaboration between the University and the UVRI.

Visit to Uganda Visit to Uganda

Social responsibility

Science comedy

In December Katie Walwyn-Brown took a look at the funny side of life in the lab for a researcher’s comedy night with Bright Club. There were plenty of laughs, with talks ranging from the physics of invisibility cloaks to the psychology of work life balance. The next event is 30th March 2017.

November 2016


Welcome to Yuchen Zhang who joined the MacDonald lab as an MRes student and also to Seth Scanlon who joined the Saunders lab as a post-doc.

Invited presentations

Dr Aoife Kelly presented ‘Human peripheral blood monocytes and intestinal macrophage populations activate TGF-β via expression of the integrin αvβ8’ at the EMDS meeting in Amsterdam (21st-23rd Sep 2016).

Dr Peter Cook gave a talk at the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology at University of Aberdeen on ‘Defining key checkpoints in dendritic cell control of anti-fungal immunity and inflammation’.

Dr Alex Phythian-Adams and Professor Andrew MacDonald attended the 14th International Symposium on Dendritic Cells in Shanghai (14th-18th Oct) where they presented their work on CCL17 requirements for Th2 induction against helminthes and allergens, and dendritic cell subset requirements in induction and regulation of immune responses to Schistosoma mansoni.


Fenton T.M., Kelly A., Shuttleworth E.E., Smedley C., Atakilit A., Powrie F., Campbell S., Nishimura S.L., Sheppard D., Levison S., Worthington J.J., Lehtinen M.J., Travis M.A. 2016 Inflammatory cues enhance TGFβ activation by distinct subsets of human intestinal dendritic cells via integrin αvβ8. Mucosal Immunol. Oct 26. doi: 10.1038/mi.2016.94. [Epub ahead of print]


Dr Joanne Konkel (Co-I): Analysis of Samples for a Human Vulunteer Study to Elucidate the Beneficial Effects of Dentifrice Zinc Salts. Colgate (US) £297 115.

Dr Aoife Kelly received a European Macrophage and DC Society (EMDS) Young Investigator Travel Award.


Congratulations to Professor Andrew MacDonald who was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB).

Social responsibility

Science Spectacular

The 29th of October 2016 was Science Spectacular at Manchester Museum. The MCCIR presented its "Inflammation: the good and the bad" research activity station. The event hosted nearly 1500 visitors who could take part in a range of activities from playing with robots, to releasing a fungal spore balloon to building their own bug. The day was a huge success and lots of fun was had by all. Thank you to everyone from the MCCIR who came to help out on the research station.

Some of our younger participants at Science Spectacular

Science and Art at the Whitworth

Aoife Kelly and Elinor Shuttleworth from the Travis lab took part in the Cell Matrix Centre Science-Art Masterclasses at The Whitworth Art gallery as part of the Manchester Science Festival (24th-28th October 2016). Scientists and members of the public went on a tour of the gallery during which scientists discussed what they do, how we study 'what makes us human‘ and the use of imaging to look for patterns in biology.

Art work produced at Science and Art and the Whitworth

People were encouraged to collect/sketch patterns and ideas for their own designs later in the day. The pupils created their own designs by cutting shapes and patterns out of paper and then screen printing the designs onto fabric in the studio space at The Whitworth with Artist Sally Gifford. Lots of fun was had by all (lots of paint everywhere!) and some beautiful science-inspired screen prints were created.

MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Awards

On 13th October 2016 Katie Walwyn-Brown, a PhD student in Dan Davis' lab, attended the MRC Max Perutz Science Writing awards ceremony in London. Her article, 'Emergency Service: how your immune system responds to different kinds of danger', was one of 14 shortlisted for the annual MRC student writing competition.

Shortlisted entrants attended a science writing workshop hosted by former Reporter and Assistant News Editor of New Scientist Dr John Copley. There they had a chance to share feedback on their essays and hear tips on making popular science writing accessible and engaging. This was followed by the awards ceremony at the Royal Institution.

Photo of shortlisted entrants for the Max Perutz Science Writing Awards

October 2016


Welcome to our new PhD students Emma Houlder (MacDonald lab), Abdulelah Aljuaid (Travis lab), Jakub Chudziak (Hussell / Dive labs), and Karen Garcia Rodriguez (Bulfone-Paus lab).

The MCCIR also welcomes two visiting Erasmus students, Miriam Simon Fuentes who has joined the Travis lab for 3 months and Marta Walczak who will be working with the Davis lab for 3 months.

Welcome to Javier Lozano Bartolome who is a visiting PhD student with the Lopez-Castejon lab from Dr. Matilde Rodriguez-Chacon’s lab at Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (Spain).

Welcome also to Muna Mohamed and Nikki Elliott who have joined the Fildes and Cook groups respectively, for their placement years from Salford University.

Welcome finally to Steven Dixon who is working with the Hussell lab as part of an intercalating medicine degree.

Invited presentations

Professor Andrew MacDonald gave a talk at the European Macrophage and DC Society meeting in Amsterdam (21st-23rd Sep) on the role of Type I IFN in Th2 induction by DCs. Cecilia Forss from the MacDonald lab also attended and gave poster about her work on activation of DCs by Aspergillus fumigatus.

Professor Daniel Davis gave talks at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the NK cell congress in Sicily.

John Stone and Will Critchley from the Fildes lab also gave talks at the International Congress of the Transplantation Society in Hong Kong.


Ucar O., Li K., Dvornikov D., Kreutz C., Timmer J., Matt S., Brenner L., Smedley C., Travis M.A., Hofmann T.G., Klingmüller U., Kyewski B. 2016 A Thymic Epithelial Stem Cell Pool Persists throughout Ontogeny and Is Modulated by TGF-β. Cell Rep. Oct 4;17(2):448-457. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.09.027.


Professor Andrew MacDonald: ESPRC (Co-I) - 2D Materials for Next Generation Healthcare Technologies (2D Health) £5,327,896.00

Dr Gloria Lopez-Castejon: MRC IMPC - P2X7R dependent regulation of gut immunity £29,748


Congratulations to Kevin Rich from the Travis Lab who passed his PhD viva and is now working for GSK in the Allergic Inflammation DPU.

Congratulations to Kavit Amin, a clinical research training fellow in the Fildes group, who has been awarded a fellowship from the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (£50K).

Congratulations to Hayley Bridgeman on the safe arrival of her little girl, Meredith Margaret Kim Bridgeman, born Wednesday 28th September at 10.17pm. She, apparently, has masses of dark hair and weighed 3kg. Both her and Hayley are doing well.


Professor Daniel Davis made a video for FindAPhD on why he chose to do a PhD and the challenges of doing a PhD.

Trainee Plastic Surgeon and PhD researcher Kavit Amin from the Fildes lab took to the airwaves speaking to six BBC radio stations including Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. He reflected on the tremendous success of the double hand transplant procedure, paid testament to the surgical team and explored some of the remaining challenges – highlighting why the continued work of the MCCIR at The University of Manchester is so critical. Kavit will be presenting his work at the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (Oct) and the British Association for Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (Nov).

>> LISTEN (.m4a)

Social responsibility

Manchester Literature Festival

At the Manchester Literature festival Professor Daniel Davis discussed ‘Homo Deus’ with Yuval Noah Harari.

Alien Invaders

Professor Andrew MacDonald, and Ben Mulhearn volunteered at the Quarry Bank Mill ‘Alien Invaders’ event on Saturday 24th September.

Science Uncovered

The last Friday in September is dedicated European Researchers’ Night and to celebrate this Manchester Museum hosted Science Uncovered, which the MCCIR contributed to for the second year running. The night was enjoyed as much by researchers as by the public - who doesn’t like cocktails with dry ice and tote bags decorated with your favourite cell type? It was a chance to engage with A level students and adults in a variety of formats: 3 min ‘lightning talks’, 15 min ‘storytelling’, scheduled chats with scientists at the bar and science stalls, including CRUK’s popular virtual reality lab tour.

Science Spectacular

Science Spectacular logo

Science Spectacular is on again! Science Spectacular is a key event in the Manchester Science Festival and will take place on Saturday 29th October 2016 at Manchester Museum. Now in its 6th year, this university-wide science fair invites families to explore interactive exhibits and take part in a diverse range of science and engineering challenges. The MCCIR will be presenting it’s ‘Inflammation: the good and the bad’ research activity station. If you would like to get involved please let Fiona know.

Future initiatives - Capacity building in single cell inflammation project call

Professor Tracy Hussell and the University of Manchester have been awarded a MRC Discovery Award: ‘Capacity Building in single cell inflammation discovery: developing the next generation of scientists.’

The MCCIR is pleased to announce a call for projects (£100K) as part of this award, which will fund strategic projects that will lead to publication and recognition that the University is active in the area of single cell inflammation discovery. All projects will make use of the University’s MRC funded state-of-the-art Single Cell Facility and will address current priorities in inflammation. Please see MRC Discovery Award for more details.

August/September 2016

A fond farewell

Melanie Ward

Melanie Ward, the MCCIR Technical support officer left the MCCIR on the 9th of September 2016 to start a new job at MACE (Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering). Melanie has been with the MCCIR since early 2013, and was integral in helping set up the MCCIR. We wish her all the best in her new job.


Welcome to Thomas Barbera who has joined the Konkel / Grainger lab as a technician.

Invited presentations

Dr Tara Sutherland Chitinase-like proteins: regulators of innate and adaptive immunity Freie Universität Berlin.


Kannan Y., Li Y., Coomes S.M., Okoye .IS., Pelly V.S., Sriskantharajah S., Gückel E., Webb L., Czieso S., Nikolov N., MacDonald A.S., Ley S.C., Wilson M.S. 2016 Tumor progression locus 2 reduces severe allergic airway inflammation by inhibiting Ccl24 production in dendritic cells. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Jul 5. pii: S0091-6749(16)30595-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.05.031. [Epub ahead of print]

Lopez-Castejon G., and Edelmann M.J. 2016. Deubiquitinases: Novel Therapeutic Targets in Immune Surveillance? Mediators of Inflammation. DOI: 10.1155/2016/3481371.

Exley M.A., Tsokos G.C., Mills K.H., Elewaut D., Mulhearn B. 2016 What rheumatologists need to know about innate lymphocytes. Nat Rev Rheumatol. Sep 2. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2016.140. [Epub ahead of print]

Jackson-Jones L.H., Rückerl D., Svedberg F., Duncan S., Maizels R.M., Sutherland T.E., Jenkins S.J., McSorley H.J., Bénézech C., MacDonald A.S., Allen J.E. 2016 IL-33 delivery induces serous cavity macrophage proliferation independent of interleukin-4 receptor alpha. Eur J Immunol. Sep 5. doi: 10.1002/eji.201646442. [Epub ahead of print]

MCCIR PhD and Post-doc Away Day

PhD and Post-doc Away Day

On the 9th September 2016 the MCCIR held it’s first Away Day, where over forty PhD students and PostDocs gathered to share ideas and increase collaboration with their peers in a relaxed environment. Twelve young researchers presented their recent discoveries through short talks and 22 presented posters. All the presentations highlighted that the MCCIR is performing outstanding inflammation research, from super-resolution studies of primary human cells, to functional studies on mouse models, to biopsy investigations and ex-vivo organ perfusion research.

The keynote lecture was by Professor Judith Allen, who gave an inspiring talk about her career and research. She showed how dedicated research can lead to cutting-edge discoveries, in her case fundamentally impacting our understanding of the immune system.

Katy Boyle from the Faculty fellowship academy also presented an extremely useful talk, introducing the academy services and informing participants of the help they can get applying for grants.

PhD and Post-doc Away Day

The formal part of the day concluded with best talk and best poster prizes. Best talk went to Philippa Kennedy from the Davis lab for not only describing her research but also delivering an enthusiastic sales pitch for Natural Killer cell and KIR receptor research, inspiring potential collaborations. Tovah Shaw won the poster prize for her poster on a novel population of monocyte-independent gut macrophage in the intestine, which had both exciting data and an attractive presentation.

The delegates continued discussions over food and drinks at a reception at The Footage. Overall the day proved was an excellent opportunity to share ideas and build the MCCIR community, and participants were enthusiastic to continue the away day as an annual tradition.

Katja, Katie and Mezida

Social responsibility

MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award

Katie Walwyn-Brown from the Davis lab has had an article she wrote on why her research matters, shortlisted for this year's MRC Max Perutz Science writing award. Katie has been invited to a science writing masterclass and awards ceremony at the Royal Institute in London on the 22nd October 2016. We wish her all the best of luck.

Great Immunology Bake Off

Cecilia Forss' popcorn cake

The first ever Great Immunology Bake Off was held on the 18th August 2016. Prizes went to:

  • 1st Prize: Freya Svedberg for her lemon and strawberry checkerboard cake with swiss vanilla buttercream and white chocolate ganache.
  • 2nd Prize: Cecilia Forss for her popcorn cake.
  • 3rd Prize: Jayde Whittingham-Dowd for her gluten free raspberry vanilla cake with white chocolate buttercream and white chocolate ganache. Jayde also won best free from bake!

Thank you to all those who donated to The Christie - we raised £88.26 (3euros, 4 US cents and 25 Kuaiti fils…) for a great cause.

July 2016


Welcome to Ashley Ambrose who has joined Professor Davis’ lab as a post-doc.


Professor Daniel Davis: Wellcome Trust (Co-I) - A "Molecular Imaging (FLIM/FCS) toolbox" to investigate molecular interactions and activation in super-resolution and widefield mode .£275,000.

Professor Tracy Hussell: Wellcome Trust – Pathogenic Airway Macrophage Adaptation in the Chronically Inflamed Lung. £1,679,619.

Invited presentations

Professor Davis presented ‘Watching immune cells kill using super-resolution microscopy’ at both the University of Oxford and Edinburgh University.

Social responsibility

Soapbox Science

Katie Walwyn-Brown

On 23rd July 2016 Katie Walwyn-Brown, a PhD student in Dan Davis’ lab, presented her lab’s research to the public in Piccadilly Gardens as part of Soapbox Science. Soapbox Science runs outreach events across the country, giving female scientists a platform to share their research, raising their profile and providing role models for aspiring scientists. The Manchester event hosted an exciting range of speakers on topics from colliding galaxies to the immune system, and attracted over 5000 people. Watch a short video of the event.

'I CAN' Aspiration Week

Eleanor Sherwood from Mark Travis’ group spent a day at Stanley Grove primary school, Longsight as part of their ‘I CAN’ aspiration week. The children learnt about how the immune system defends itself against pathogens, had a close look at preserved intestinal parasites and played ‘Guess the Good or Bad Bacteria’. Perhaps there will be some more recruits to the MCCIR in the future?

ESOF - Reanimate

Reanimate artwork

The Fildes group will be presenting organ perfusion to the general public as part of the European City of Science on the 29th of July 2016.

When a vital organ, such as the heart, lungs, or kidneys stops working, our lives are in great danger. But advancements in medical science have made it possible for us to receive replacements, transplanted from deceased or living donors. At Reanimate, see a kidney working and a heart beating outside of the body, and explore the possibilities of external organs returning to life.

ESOF - Open labs

Open Labs artwork

The MCCIR will be taking part in the European City of Science event ‘Behind the scenes of Manchester Science’. We will be hosting an Open labs event, where members of the public are invited to come for ‘A walk through Inflammation’. This involves two tours of the MCCIR (10.30 and 11.30am), where the exciting research that goes on in the centre will be on show!

In parallel to this will be running the Research Activity station, Inflammation: the good and the bad at Manchester Museum. Here the immune system is explained via toy ducks, a beat the flu game and a good versus bad bacteria game! Kids also have the opportunity to make their own bug.

Green corner

Chilli competition

Dr Wu's chilli plant

Dr Jaikai Wu has won the competition for the best surviving original chilli plant – his was the first to produce chillis, which are now turning red!

The competition remains open for owners of both original and the newer chilli plants for:

  1. Most chillis on a plant
  2. Biggest single chilli
  3. And best chilli dish!

June 2016


Welcome to Eric Pitkeathly who has joined Professor Davis’ lab as a post-doc.


Congratulations to Professor Tracy Hussell who has been made the Research Domain Director for Infection, Immunity, Inflammation and Repair in the new Faculty.


Cook P.C., MacDonald A.S. 2016 Dendritic cells in lung immunopathology. Semin Immunopathol. Jun 2. [Epub ahead of print].

Palazon-Riquelme, P. and López-Castejón, G. 2016. Methods to measure ubiquitination of NLRs. Methods of Molecular Biology-NOD proteins, Springer editorial group. 1417:223-9. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3566-6_16.

Compan V., López-Castejón, G. 2016 Functional Reconstruction of NLRs in HEK293 Cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1417:217-21. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3566-6_15.

Oszmiana A., Williamson D.J., Cordoba S.P., Morgan D.J., Kennedy P.R., Stacey K., Davis D.M. 2016 The Size of Activating and Inhibitory Killer Ig-like Receptor Nanoclusters Is Controlled by the Transmembrane Sequence and Affects Signaling. Cell Rep. May 31;15(9):1957-72. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.04.075. Epub May 19.

Hussell T., Grabiec A.M. 2016 Immunopathology of lung diseases: introduction for the special issue. Semin Immunopathol. May 19. [Epub ahead of print].

Shuttleworth E., Sharma S., Lal S., Allan P.J. 2016 Medical complications of anorexia nervosa. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). May 2;7.

Invited presentations

Dr Mark Travis gave a talk at the American Association of Immunology, Seattle, entitled "The integrin αvβ8 promotes activation of TGFβ by human peripheral monocyte and intestinal macrophage populations”.

Katja Srpan also presented her PhD work on Regulation of Natural Killer cell cytotoxicity by shedding of the Fc receptor CD16 at the American Association of Immunology, Conference in Seattle.

Dr Mark Travis also gave a talk at Benaroya Research Institute, Seattle, entitled "Regulation of intestinal immune responses by integrins and TGF-beta".


Professor Dan Davis was on BBC Radio Wales on the 24th of May during which he talked about the importance of fully embedding science in culture.

Professor Dan Davis wrote this piece for the Guardian newspaper on science at the Hay festival.

Public engagement

Haris Atmoko at the Oakes Cub Scout meeting.

Haris Atmoko participated in Oakes Cub Scout hobbies, skills, and jobs night on the 19th May 2016 at the Salvation Army, Huddersfield, which was attended by 24 Cubs. Haris introduced the Cubs to the type of skills used in science. The cubs enjoyed learning about antibodies and had a good time playing the 'Beat the Flu' game.

Dr Mark Travis went to Oasis Academy Aspinal, Gorton to teach Year4 students about being a research scientist, how the immune system works and worms!

Naked Scientists

Professor Dan Davis was interviewed on a Genetics podcast from the Naked Scientists.

Hay Festival

Prof Davis debating genes with Oliver James

Professor Dan Davis recently attended Hay Festival. Dan took part in 7 events including a live event, Hay Levels, where school kids can ask questions live to panels of science experts. The events Dan participated in included: Herding Hemingway’s Cats (with Kat Arney), No Need for Geniuses (with Steve Jones), Physics: From Quintessence to Quarks (with John Heilbron), The Wood From the Trees (with Richard Fortey), Origins (with Jim Baggott) and Not in our genes (with Oliver James).

Cheltenham Science Festival

On Fri June 10th 2016 Professor Dan Davis decoded the immune system at Cheltenham Science Festival.

Latitude Festival

Dr Pippa Kennedy will be presenting her talk on the Immune system health and happiness at the upcoming Latitude Festival in July.

April & May 2016


Charlotte Barthen - PhD success

Congratulations to Charlotte Barthen who passed her PhD viva.

Congratulations to Katja Srpan on being awarded a British Society for Immunology Travel Award and a 2016 AAI (The American Association of Immunologists) Trainee Abstract Award.

Congratulations to Alek Grabiec who has obtained a prestigious Polonez fellowship from the National Science Centre in Poland. Alek will start his two year fellowship in October 2016 and will be looking at Epigenetics of periodontitis: alterations in the host protein acetylation system as a potentially fundamental mechanism for disease development. He will be based in the Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland.

Congratulations to Anna Oszmiana who passed her PhD viva.


Welcome to Tara Sutherland an Asthma UK Fellow who has joined the Centre.

Tracey Hussell visits Malawi

Tracey Hussell visits Malawi

Tracy Hussell was part of an international scientific advisory board visiting the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust clinical research facility in Blantyre Malawi. Over two days the board heard the latest developments in their efforts to control Malaria, HIV, Tuberculosis and emerging problems of stroke, diabetes and respiratory infections. Though a large majority of the population does not live long enough to experience diseases associated with increasing age, there is significant overlap. For example, the reduced responsiveness of airway macrophages in COPD, is also evident in urban dwellings due to inhalation of cooking smoke from non-vented internal fires. In many cases, the molecular problem is defined and yet the answer is simple: remove smoke from the dwellings and provide a clean water supply. The disease burden in Africa could be significantly improved by investment in infrastructure.


Magnus D, Goenka A, Williams B. 2016. Global Child Health. In: Lissauer T and Carroll W eds. MRCPCH Mastercourse (2nd ed.). Oxford, Elsevier.

Williams B, Goenka A, Magnus D, Allen S, 2016. Child and Adolescent Health. In Nicholson B, McKimm J, Allen A eds. Global Health. London, Sage Publishing

Rachel J. Lundie, Lauren M. Webb, Angela K. Marley, Alexander T. Phythian-Adams, Peter C. Cook, Lucy H. Jones, Sheila Brown, Rick M. Maizels, Louis Boon, Meredith O¹Keefe and Andrew S. MacDonald. 2016 A central role for hepatic conventional dendritic cells in supporting Th2 responses during helminth infection. Immunology and Cell Biology. 94:400-4010.

Hussell T. 2016 Heterologous immunity meets tissue-specific training. Nat Rev Immunol. Apr 4. doi: 10.1038/nri.2016.41.

Luda K.M., Joeris T., Persson E.K., Rivollier A., Demiri M., Sitnik K.M., Pool L., Holm J.B., Melo-Gonzalez F., Richter L., Lambrecht B.N., Kristiansen K., Travis M.A., Svensson-Frej M., Kotarsky K., Agace W.W. 2016 IRF8 Transcription-Factor-Dependent Classical Dendritic Cells Are Essential for Intestinal T Cell Homeostasis. Immunity. Apr 5. pii: S1074-7613(16)30046-2. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.02.008.

Krishnamoorthy B., Critchley W.R., Venkateswaran R.V., Barnard J., Caress A., Fildes J.E., Yonan N. 2016 A comprehensive review on learning curve associated problems in endoscopic vein harvesting and the requirement for a standardised training programme. J Cardiothorac Surg. Apr 8;11(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s13019-016-0442-y

Invited presentations

James Fildes gave his final invited talk for the spring at the Transplantation Symposium in Munich, Germany, where he gave an update on how heart perfusion alters myocardial immunity.

Andrew MacDonald and James Crooks visited Immodulon Therapeutics in London on the 21st April 2016. They discussed their ongoing collaboration into understanding innate immune cell activation by environmental bacteria, and their potential for cancer treatment.


At the recent Manchester Life Sciences PhD conference organised by the FLS Postgrad Society a number of students from the MCCIR presented their work:

Talks and Poster:

  • Pablo Palazon: USP7 deubiquitinase: a driver of inflammasome activation
  • Katie Walwyn-Brown:Do Natural Killer cell interactions with Dendritic cell sinfluence inflammation?
  • Mezida Saeed: Cortical actin remodelling for effective lytic synapse formation
  • Katja Srpan: Regulation of Natural Killer cell cytotoxicity by shedding of the Fc receptor CD16


  • Holly Linley: CD200R1 regulates skin innate lymphoid cell activity

Bringing Art to the World of Science and Research

Team Skin, Science and Sketching – Paula Missa

Team Skin - Science and Sketching – Paula Missa

Team Skin, Skin, Science and Sketching – Tanisha Palmer, Rose Wright

Team Skin - Skin, Science and Sketching – Tanisha Palmer, Rose Wright

Team Blood and Guts – Daisy Aje, Hannah Francis, Mahitha Sabu

Team Blood and Guts – Daisy Aje, Hannah Francis, Mahitha Sabu

Team Blood and Guts – Evie Hall, Daisy Bates

Team Blood and Guts – Evie Hall, Daisy Bates

Team Art and Airways – Ellie-May Oldfield, Evie Skeels, Alice McNorten, Ola Kozlowska

Team Art and Airways – Ellie-May Oldfield, Evie Skeels, Alice McNorten, Ola Kozlowska

Team Art and Airways – Catherine Lord, Elle Stephens

Team Art and Airways – Catherine Lord, Elle Stephens

Team Cancer Killers – Marie Waklatsi, Divas Happy, Berthe Nigaba

Team Cancer Killers – Marie Waklatsi, Divas Happy, Berthe Nigaba

Team Cancer Killers – Chloe Latham, Mikhaila Tchangou

Team Cancer Killers – Chloe Latham, Mikhaila Tchangou

The MCCIR in collaboration with Salford R&D and St Ambrose Barlow RC High School have been working on a project to Bring Art to the World of Science and Research. The celebration event for this project was hel d on the 11th of April 2016 at Salford Royal Hopsital. Prizes were given out for the best science and art posters as judged by Mark Travis, Ceri Harrop (WTCCMR Public Engagement Officer), and a patient representative as well as a prize for the most popular poster judged by those there on the night. There was a tie for the best science poster – with prizes going to the Team Skin (Paula Missa) and Team Blood and Guts (Daisy Aje, Hannah Francis, Mahitha Sabu). The prize for the art poster went to Team Art and Airways (Catherien Lord and Elle Stphens) and the popular prize went to the Art and Airways Science poster (Ellie-May Oldfiled, Evie Skeels, Alice McNorten and Ola Kozlowska). A huge thank you must go to all in the MCCIR who have helped out on this project.

This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust [105610/Z/14/Z]
Photos by Àgata Alcaniz

March 2016

MCCIR at Body Experience

The MCCIR presented it’s Inflammation: the good and bad Research Activity station at the Body Experience event at the Manchester Musuem on the 19th March 2016. There were over 1000 visitors to the event and the feedback on the event included ‘I enjoyed it when I made the good bug’.

International Women's Day

On the 7th March Gloria Lopez-Castejon was invited to contribute to an Inspiring Women event for National Careers Week which coincided with International Women's day. The event took place at William Hulme Grammar School, and involved Year 10 female students from across Manchester. The aim was to inspire young women through a series of workshops, providing them with the opportunity to meet inspirational women from a range of career sectors and hear about the paths they have taken into their chosen career. The workshops included themes around Leadership and Management, Motivation, Building Resilience and Self Esteem and a Careers Speed Networking session in which Gloria took part.

Invited presentations

Mark Travis - Regulation of intestinal immune responses by integrins and TGFβ Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden 1st March 2016.

James Fildes has given an invited 'TED' talk at the British Society of Transplantation's annual meeting in Glasgow on ischaemia reperfusion injury. He has also given research talks on organ perfusion at the MRC Centre for Transplantation,Guys Hospital, London, and the Transplant Centre at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge.

Vaccines in practice

Dr Anu Goenka from the MCCIR has led a project to launch a new elearning module called Vaccines in Practice, in collaboration with the Royal College of Paediatrics of Child Health, Learning Pool and colleagues at St. George’s University London. The module has been designed to primarily facilitate the development of skills in communicating the benefits of vaccination and covers the foundation of clinical vaccinology relevant to UK practitioners working with children including trainees, GPs, paediatricians, nurses and health visitors. The module is open to all, and can be accessed for free here: www.rcpch.ac.uk/vaccines-learning

February 2016

Bringing Art to the World of Science and Research

The MCCIR recently hosted 11 students from St Ambrose Barlow RC High School for a day’s work experience as part of the ongoing ‘Bringing Art to the World of Science and Research Project’.

The students got to do their own experiments investigating their team’s (Team Blood and Guts, Team Cancer Killers, Team Art and Airways, and Team Skin, Art and Sketching) disease. It also provided the student’s with a unique opportunity to find out about the diverse range of career options available to scientists. The students are now preparing scientific posters explaining the research that is going on into inflammatory conditions and what the possible impact of this is to patient groups and the wider public.

As part of the overall project, our partners  Salford R+D hosted eight  arts students who  had a mentoring workshop with two local artists, Àgata Alcaniz and Dan Birkbeck to learn how to communicate complex ideas about health research through art. We are looking forward to seeing how the art and science students come to together to explain the impact of research into inflammatory conditions at the celebratory event in April.

This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust [105610/Z/14/Z]



Photos by Àgata Alcaniz and Mel Ward.

January 2016


Katie Walwyn-Brown from the MCCIR

FameLab is an international science communication competition which challenges participants to explain a science, engineering or technology concept in just 3 minutes. The aim is to entertain and engage a lay audience while showing that research is important. The judges are looking for content, clarity and charisma.

Katie Walwyn-Brown from the MCCIR went to a FameLab workshop at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry and enjoyed it so much she decided to sign up for the Manchester heats. There were a lot of fantastic talks on topics from the large hadron collider to the dopamine in the brain. Katie’s talk on natural killer cells, titled ‘Immune Assassins’, won third place and got her through to the North West Final. The North west Final takes place on onday 15th of February 2016 at MOSI at 19:30 (doors open from 18:00).

MCCIR and CRUK MI Away Day

Attendees at the MCCIR and CRUK MI Away Day

At the end of January 2016, 25 members of the MCCIR joined the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute for an away day at Albert Square Chophouse. The purpose of this day was to exchange information on the science conducted on both sites to find areas of synergy. Richard Marais and Tracy Hussell provided overviews of the CRUK Manchester Institute and the MCCIR, respectively. This was followed by 30 minute presentation from:

  • Santiago Zelenay: Cyclooxygenase‐dependent tumour growth through evasion of immunity
  • Daniel Davis: Using super‐resolution microscopy to watch immune cells kill
  • Caroline Dive: Lung cancer CTCs – what are they good for?
  • Silvia Bulfone‐Paus: The significance of mast cells in cancer
  • John Brognard: Translating the cancer genome: From basic biology to new therapeutic targets
  • Gloria Lopez‐Castejon: New roles for deubiquitinases in the inflammatory response
  • Claus Jorgensen: Cell specific analysis of tumour-stroma signalling
  • Andrew MacDonald: Inflammation at the interface: dendritic cell coordination of Type 2 immunity
  • Esther Baena: Understanding prostate cancer biology as a route to novel therapeutics
  • Joanne Konkel: Mechanisms of immuno‐surveillance at the oral barrier
  • Richard Marais: The role of ultraviolet light in melanomagenesis
  • Tracy Hussell: Stromal regulation of innate immunity

The day was a huge success that highlighted clear synergies between the two centres. As starting point the MCCIR will be contributing to the CRUK Centre of Excellence for Lung Cancer.

Poster of the day

Bringing Art to the World of Science and Research

The MCCIR along with Salford R&D have been working on a project to Bring Art to the World of Science and Research with St Ambrose’s Barlow RC High School Salford. In this projects teams of scientists (Team Blood and Guts, Team Skin Science and Sketching, Team Art and Airways and Team Cancer Killers) are working with both science and arts students to produce a scientific poster and an art work to not only explain the research that goes on in the centre but the impact of the research on patient groups. This on going interactive project has resulted in some interesting discussions not only for the scientists involved but for the two professional artists who have been supporting the project and for the patients who came to speak to the students, artists and scientists about their experiences of living with a long term health condition. The MCCIR looks forward to hosting the science students for a day in the lab in February and to the exhibition in April when we get to see how the research has been interpreted.

Poster prize.

Congratulations to William Critchley (Respiratory & Allergy) who won the poster presentation prize for his poster entitled ‘Altered immunogenicity of porcine hearts via ex vivo perfusion’.

December 2015

Congratulations to Dan Davis who was awarded an Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust of ~£1.84m (final budget tbc) for ‘The nanoscale organisation of immune cell surfaces in health and disease’.

Dan also presented his research at the American Society of Cell Biology meeting, San Diego, Dec 12-16th.

The Compatibility Gene was reviewed in Oncology Times, Dec 25th.

November 2015

Joanne Konke Publications:

Antibiotics in neonatal life increase murine susceptibility to experimental psoriasis.

Zanvit P, Konkel JE, Jiao X, Kasagi S, Zhang D, Wu R, Chia C, Ajami NJ, Smith DP, Petrosino JF, Abbatiello B, Nakatsukasa H, Chen Q, Belkaid Y, Chen ZJ, Chen W.

Nat Commun. 2015 Sep 29;6:8424. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9424.

Joanne also took part in science spectacular at the museum.

Mark Travis

Mark Travis gave a seminar at Lund University, Sweden on 10th November, entitled "Regulation of intestinal T-cell responses by integrins and TGF-beta"

Andrew Macdonald


Lucy H. Jones, Peter C. Cook, Al C. Ivens, Graham D. Thomas, Alexander T. Phythian-Adams, Judith E. Allen and Andrew S. MacDonald.  Modulation of dendritic cell alternative activation and function by the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid. 2015. International Immunology. 11: 589-596.

Stephen A. Redpath, Nienke van der Werf, Andrew S. MacDonald,Rick M. Maizels and Matthew D. Taylor. Schistosoma mansoni larvae do not expand or activate Foxp3+ regulatory T cells during their migratory phase. 2015. Infection and Immunity. 10: 3881-3889.

Dario Besusso, Louise Saul, Melanie D. Leech, Richard A. O’Connor, Andrew S. MacDonald, Stephen M. Anderton and Richard J. Mellanby. 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 conditioned CD11c+ dendritic cells are effective initiators of CNS autoimmune disease. 2015. Frontiers in Immunology. 575.

New Collaborations With Prof Kostas Kostarelos

The impact of graphene on immune cell activation and inflammation’. Joint MRes Translational Medicine student (Oliver Carnell), Nov 2015 – Aug 2016.

Madagascar Medical Expedition.

Andrew Helped support UoM student led expedition to Madagascar to inform about, treat and study schistosomiasis. More information can be found here.

New Staff

Staff name



Length of contract

Nicholas Ghirolami

MRes student


Until end Feb 2016

Oliver Carnell

MRes student


Until end July 2016





October 2015

Congratulations to Kathryn Lagrue in Dan Davis's lab she passed her PhD, examined by Profs. Francesco Colucci (Cambridge) and Julian Dyson (Imperial College).

Dan also gave research talks at University College London and the University of Munich, as well as presenting The Compatibility Gene at Café Scientifique and a local primary school

Andrew MacDonald visited the University of Wurzburg and gave a talk about Type 2 inflammation and dendritic cells on the 26th Oct.

MCCIR at the Manchester Science Spectacular!

The MCCIR took part in Science Spectacular on Saturday 31st October 2015, a full –on family science day which is part of the Manchester Science Festival. The spectacular was held in the Manchester Museum and Whitworth Hall. Over 23 volunteers from the Centre helped visitors to the ‘Inflammation: the good and the bad’ stand make play-doh bugs and then learn how the immune system might kill harmful bugs. Visitors also got to kill a flu virus by throwing antibodies at it, test their lung function, learn about how the immune system recognises something as foreign using toys ducks and guess which bacteria were good and which ones could make you ill!

Here are some of the comments we received:

‘Boys ages 8 and 11 thoroughly engaged, completed ALL activities (blown things, watched things, made things). People running activities enthusiastic and good at dropping in bits of knowledge and learning. Thank you’ ‘Thank you very much! I'm a primary school teacher and it's great to see so many fantastic ideas to bring into the classroom! :)’

September 2015

Science Uncovered European Researchers night at the Museum

The MCCIR took part in Science Uncovered European Researchers night at the Museum, held on the 25th September 2015 at Manchester Museum. MCCIR scientists presented a research station on Inflammation: the good and the bad! Participants got to beat the flu in a throwing game, test their lung capacity, identify good versus bad bacteria, take part in a guessing competition to identify healthy and inflamed tissue as well as learn about NK and T cells with the aid of toy ducks!

On the night the MCCIR also presented material from AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline and were joined by a GSK science ambassador.

One of the greatest immunologists and member of the MCCIR Scientific Advisory Board, Dr William E Paul, has sadly passed away. Read his obituary to see what a huge impact William Paul had on the study of immunology.

Lung ‘filtering’ technique can reduce transplant rejection

Dr James Fildes from the MCCIR has just had a paper published in the American Journal of Transplantation, which at looks at using a new technique to recondition poorly functioning lungs for transplantation, thereby increasing the number of lungs available for use in transplants.

Read more on this exciting research.

Professor Dan Davis Interview

Professor Davis recently gave an interview to Rockefeller University Press on the journey involved in writing is acclaimed book 'The Compatibility Gene'. Read it in its full.

Steven Pinker visits Manchester!

Professor Daniel Davis from the MCCIR hosted Steven Pinker for a night of zombie nouns and the curse of prior knowledge.

Read here for more information.

Style matters for Harvard professor at public event

Professor Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker, award-winning cognitive scientist and professor of psychology at Harvard University will be speaking about his new book on writing in the 21st century at an event on Tuesday 1 September.

Hosted by The University of Manchester and part of the Manchester Literature Festival and European City of Science 2016, Professor Pinker will be drawing on his new book which uses the latest scientific insights to bring us a style and usage guide for the 21st century.

In The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, Pinker addresses the fact that the currency of our social and cultural lives is the written word, from Twitter and texting to blogs, e-readers and old-fashioned books.

Drawing on the latest research in linguistics and cognitive science, Steven Pinker replaces the recycled dogma of previous style guides with reason and evidence. His latest book shows why style still matters: in communicating effectively, in enhancing the spread of ideas, in earning a reader's trust and, not least, in adding beauty to the world.

Steven Pinker is an award-winning cognitive scientist and public intellectual, as well as the Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary and the lauded author of bestsellers such as The Language Instinct, Words and Rules, The Better Angels of Our Nature and The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and lives in Boston & Truro, Massachusetts.

The event will be chaired by The University of Manchester’s Professor Dan Davis, himself the author of the best-selling book, The Compatibility Gene.

Professor Davis said: “Steve is one of the world’s most celebrated public intellectuals and an expert in how language works. Using the latest scientific understanding, his wonderful book, and his talk in Manchester, brings us a new inspiring guide for writing in the 21st century. We are thrilled to host him at The University of Manchester and there has been phenomenal public interest in the event.”

August 2015

Freya Svedberg and Cecilia Forss in Gothenburg

Freya Svedberg, Cecilia Forss and Andrew MacDonald spent a couple of excellent days in Gothenburg at Astrazeneca Molndal brainstorming and having update meetings with the teams there (17th-19th August).

Andrew MacDonald also spent some time this month in London with James Crooks from his lab, meeting with a company called Immodulon to update with progress on their work with them on the activation of innate immune cells by therapeutic bacteria.

July 2015

Tea at the Palace

Drs John Grainger and Gloria Lopez-Castejon outside Buckingham Palace

Two of our Wellcome Trust and Royal Society funded research fellows, Dr. John Grainger and Dr. Gloria Lopez-Castejon, were invited for afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace with Prince Andrew, Duke of York. The event, to which a small number of Royal Society fellows were invited, gave them the opportunity to discuss their research and their views on British science with the Duke. John talked about the health benefits of gut worm infection while Gloria exposed the Duke to the inflammasome. They also got to sample some perfectly square cut sandwiches and tiny macaroons!

June 2015

Visit to Chapelford Village Nursery and School

Mark Travis visited Chapelford Village Nursery on Friday 19th June to talk to 2-4 year olds about healthy eating and our guts.

He also visited Chapelford Village Primary School on Friday 19th June as part of their ‘world of work’ week, talking to Year 6 students about a career as a scientist and the work we do in the lab on infection, and how the immune system keeps us healthy.

1st Mancunian Skin Club Annual International Workshop

Amy Saunders and Holly Linley attended the 1st Mancunian Skin Club Annual International Workshop on June 5th and 6th in the Council Chambers of the Whitworth Building. This was an interdisciplinary workshop focused on skin health, which was attended by around 60 participants from across academia and industry. Congratulations go to Holly for being awarded second prize for her poster presentation.

Mark is promoted!

Congratulations to Dr Mark Travis from the MCCIR, who has recently been promoted to Senior Lecturer!

John Grainger in the Lab

Gut-feelings about infections prove to be right!

An international collaboration between Faculty scientists and the National Institutes of Health in America have discovered a new finding about how immune cells determine whether to repair or protect damage to the body. The research, led by Dr John Grainger (MCCIR) and Dr Yasmine Belkaid (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA) will lead to improved treatments for a range of conditions from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) to cancers.

Dr Grainger explains the results:

“Very soon after the toxoplasma invades the gut, the tissue starts to communicate with other parts of the body to alter the immune system. One particular cell-type in the gut, the dendritic cell, can act as a beacon sending out long-range signals to the bone marrow where monocytes are produced. Cells in the bone marrow then pick up the signal and pre-programme monocytes with the appropriate function to either protect or repair.”

See the full story all about monocytes.

Tracy Hussell Interview

Professor Tracy Hussell recently gave an interview to ELRIG (European Laboratory Research and Innovation Group) on the MCCIR and her research.

May 2015

Dan Davis

Dan Davis group have just published - this in the journal Blood Dan will also be presenting the Compatibility Gene at - The Times Cheltenham Science Festival he also chaired various events at the Hay Festival, including talks by Prof. Lord Martin Rees, Profs. Derek Smith, Andrea Sella and Beth Shapiro.

Mark Travis

The Travis lab have recently identified a crucial pathway by which inflammatory T-cells are controlled. Published in the journal Immunity, they show that activation of the cytokine TGF-beta by regulatory T-cells, via expression of the integrin alphav beta8, is required for the ability of these cells to control T-cells during inflammation. Such work has highlighted a novel pathway that can be potentially targeted to modulate the ability of regulatory T-cells to suppress harmful T-cell responses in inflammatory diseases


Marathon Medal

Congratulations to John Stone in James Fildes group who ran and finished the London Marathon. He did it in 2hrs and 46mins ! He ran for the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Charity UK Well Done John !

Life Sciences' Open Day

The Faculty of Life Sciences held its 5th Annual Community Open day on the 9th May 2015. It was a great success with over 840 people attending. Staff and Students from the faculty, including the Davis lab from the MCCIR, ran a series of interactive activities based around the science undertaken at the faculty. Katja Srpan, Katie Walwyn-Brown, Mezida Saeed and Pippa Kennedy from the Davis lab ran an activity where children got to act as the Natural Killer cells of the body and identify diseased cells hidden amongst the healthy cells (with all the cells represented by toy ducks in a pond!).

Finding should enhance treatments that stop immune system attacks

Mark Travis Presentation

Scientists at The University of Manchester have made an important discovery about an immune cell which is already being used in immunotherapy to treat diseases such as type I diabetes.

Dr Mark Travis and his team at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research have been studying an important cell that prevents harmful immune responses. Their research detailing how regulatory T cells can cure inflammatory disease has been published in the journal Immunity.

T cells are important in fighting infection as they’re mostly designed to act against foreign invaders to the body such as pathogens. But there are some T-cells that react and attack our own tissues, resulting in autoimmune diseases, such as type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Regulatory T cells are crucial cells in stopping these harmful T cells from causing disease, and are therefore being used as potential therapies to treat autoimmune diseases.

The Manchester researchers have identified new and crucial molecules which allow regulatory T cells to function and cure active inflammation during disease.

Dr Travis explains the importance of their work:

“Regulatory T cells are already being used in clinical trials where the cells are taken from the patient, multiplied and then given back to the patient to suppress their illness. By understanding the mechanisms behind how regulatory T cells work, we could improve on these therapies, which can be potentially useful in conditions ranging from type 1 diabetes to multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. This knowledge is vitally important when trying to make regulatory T-cells for therapy. By knowing the importance of this pathway, we can now work to improve the suppressive nature of regulatory T cells to make them more effective as treatments for disease.”

He continues:

“It’s fascinating that getting rid of just one molecule can have such an impact on the body’s ability to fight disease. Our research is all about how the molecules interlink and react to each other, and in certain situations targeting just one molecule can boost or inhibit a response.”

For this paper the Manchester researchers demonstrated that the same molecules are expressed in humans as well as animal models. The next step will be to look at how the mechanism works in humans during disease, for which they plan to target inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr John Worthington, a Wellcome Trust Stepping Stones Fellow, worked alongside Dr Travis on the paper:

“We’re hopeful this research will have a real impact on treatment therapies that use regulatory T cells, either by boosting their function by targeting this pathway or by cherry picking the very best regulatory cells to prevent autoimmunity. Understanding how these cells operate in such detail can only lead to more effective ways to fight a whole range of inflammatory conditions.”

April 2015

GSK visit the MCCIR

On Wednesday the 29th of April 2015 the MCCIR hosted:

  • Patrick Vallance (President, Pharmaceuticals R&D GSK)
  • Sir Keith Peters (FRS, FMedSci)
  • Malcolm Skingle (Director Academic Liaison, GSK)
  • Dr Edith Hessel (Refractory Respiratory Inflammation DPU head, Respiratory Therapy Area Unit, Vice President, GSK)
  • Dr Lucy Holt (Biopharm Innovation, GSK)
  • Dr Karen Miller (Cytokine, Chemokine and Complement DPU head, Immuno-Inflammation Therapy Area Unit, Vice President, GSK)
  • Dr Soren Beinke (Senior Biology Advisor, Refractory Respiratory Inflammation DPU, Respiratory Therapy Area Unit, GSK).

The visit was designed to demonstrate and update on the collaborative research being undertaken at the Centre. The day began with a meeting between Patrick Vallance and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell followed by a number of exciting talks from MCCIR researchers and a working lunch. The working lunch additionally included Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell and the Dean of FLS and Acting Dean of FMHS, Professor Martin Humphries and Professor Julian Davis, respectively. The lunch focussed on creating stronger links between academia and industry and how to enthuse more academics into a career in industry.

Understanding the body’s response to worms and allergies

Dendritic cell

Research from The University of Manchester is bringing scientists a step closer to developing new therapies for controlling the body’s response to allergies and parasitic worm infections.

In a paper published in Nature Communications, Professor Andrew MacDonald and his team at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research discovered a new way that immune cells control inflammation during worm infection or an allergic response like asthma. It’s important to understand how this type of inflammation is controlled as it can be very damaging and in some cases lead to long term conditions.

Professor MacDonald explains the reasons behind his work:

“Although both worm infections and allergies exert a devastating global impact and lack effective vaccines or refined treatments, basic knowledge of the key cell types and mediators that control immunity and inflammation against either condition is currently limited.”

To study how inflammation is controlled the team looked at dendritic cells - a particular type of cell in the immune system that is a vital first responder to worms or allergies. The main function of dendritic cells is to recognise infection and switch on channels to combat it, including inflammation.

What isn’t known is precisely how immune cells switch on the kind of inflammation found during worm infections or allergies. Professor MacDonald and his team studied dendritic cells in the lab and animal models to see how they were activated by parasitic worms, or lung allergens such as house dust mites.

They found that a particular protein called Mbd2 is central to the ability of dendritic cells to switch on inflammation in these kinds of settings. When the protein was removed it resulted in very different cells with a dramatically impaired ability to switch on inflammation.

The team also identified that Mbd2 is able to influence a wide range of genes important for multiple aspects of dendritic cell function without altering their DNA sequence, meaning that Mbd2 is an ‘epigenetic’ regulator.

Professor MacDonald explains:

“For the first time we have identified that this protein is a key controller of dendritic cells during inflammation against parasitic worms or allergens. It’s an important step, as all inflammation is not identical, and scientists try to understand which specific cells and chemicals are more important in the body’s response to particular infections. In the past, medicines have had a broad approach, affecting all aspects of a condition rather than being targeted. In the future it might be possible to create medicines that control the inflammation caused specifically by an allergy or a parasitic worm, rather than by a virus such as a common cold.”

Professor MacDonald continues:

“With billions of people affected by both allergies and worm infections around the world it is vital that we develop better methods of treatment. It’s also important to tackle the inflammation caused by these conditions, as it has been shown to play a role in the development of longer term diseases such as asthma.”

March 2015

Congratulations to John Stone for his presentation at the British Transplant Society meeting. John gave a talk to the entire congress and was ranked in the top 3 scientific presentations of the meeting.

Mark Travis gave a talk to A-level students at William Hulme's Grammar School in Manchester on 2nd March, talking to them about a career as a research scientists, and also the specific research we carry out in MCCIR on how the immune system is regulated in the gut.

Dan Davis presented a talk.

And is talking at The Bollington SciBar on March 9th - all welcome.

Dan also commented in this news story.

John Grainger and Andrew MacDonald visited Medimmune in Cambridge at the end of February, where Andrew talked about dendritic cells and type 2 inflammation, John talked about systemic education of monocytes during GI infection, and we had a great brainstorming session with the team there.

James Fildes was recently interviewed by BBC Radio Manchester on the unusual topic of 'head transplantation'. Have a listen to the interview (mp3)

The Fildes group will present their most recent findings at the British Transplant Society meeting in March. John Stone has been shortlisted for the Medawar Medal, which recognises the highest impact scientific paper at the meeting. This is a prestigious award given to the UKs potential leading lights. The team have been busy developing a beating heart perfusion model using hearts collected from abattoirs and surplus material, and after a huge amount of effort they have managed to get the system to work (in collaboration with Prof Andy Trafford from ICVS). They can now maintain hearts in langendorff and ‘working’ mode, and plan to use this system to assess inflammatory/immune involvement in myocardial recovery and identify novel anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory therapeutics aimed at accelerating repair following myocardial injury. The team also joined up with Jason Wong, reconstructive surgeon from UHSM and senior lecturer at UoM, and performed their first (and successful!) limb perfusion. They plan to develop a clinical protocol aimed at reducing tissue injury for limb replantation/transplantation, and to identify and develop novel immunomodulatorytherapeutics that will allow immunosuppression free transplantation of limbs.

Finally, the group have been awarded a BBSRC Industrial CASE studentship in collaboration with Dr Paul Redford from GSK. This is a 4 year PhD that will start in September 2015, and will involve mapping the immune content in the healthy and injured lung. More details to follow soon.

February 2015

John Stone from the Fildes group is running the London Marathon to raise money for the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) charity as his 3 year old nephew suffers from this. PKD is a rare, life-threatening genetic disease that causes the kidneys to fail leading to the need for a kidney transplant. Any money raised for this small charity would be gratefully received. If you would like to donate then please go to his Virgin Money Giving page.

Xaverian College student

On the 4th of February Gloria Lopez-Castejon visited Xaverian College. She was invited by Kim Standford, a very enthusiastic teacher, to talk about my research to A-level students from the Biology course. It was a great experience, where students learned about what inflammation is, how it contributes and affect disease and how important cytokines and macrophages are in this process. Gloria talked about the things we do in her lab and how this help us to better understand how cells behave and communicate. This was followed by two different hands on activities. First we performed a DNA extraction from cheek cells to highlight the importance of DNA extraction in everyday life in a biology lab. Then we used the microscopes to look at samples from inflamed versus non-inflamed skin. Samples had been previously blinded (and kindly donated by Dr Amy Saunders) and students had to determine which one belonged to each group. There was a 95% success, so I think Xaverian college students will make very good researchers! It was a very enjoyable afternoon and Gloria recommends it to anyone!

January 2015

On Wednesday the 28th of January the MCCIR hosted Janssen Research and Development. Carl Manthey (Associate Scientific Director, Immunology Discovery) and Joel Tocker (Director of Pulmonary Research) from Janssen presented some of their exciting data before meeting with members of the MCCIR to discuss potential areas for collaboration. There was also the opportunity for Janssen to see the breadth of research happening at the MCCIR and the posters and pastries display!

John Worthington won the 'Bright Sparks in Immunology' post-doc prize for best talk at the British Society of Immunology Congress in December. John was one of 12 post-docs shortlisted from hundreds for the prize, and presented his work at a plenary session as part of the prize.

John talked about his work that he did in the Travis lab in MCCIR, defining an important pathway by which Tregs suppress inflammation via activation of TGF-beta.

Tracy Hussell

The Axl receptor tyrosine kinase is a discriminator of macrophage function in the inflamed lung T Fujimori1,4, AM Grabiec1,4, M Kaur1,2, TJ Bell1, N Fujino3, PC Cook1, FR Svedberg1, AS MacDonald1, RA Maciewicz3, D Singh2 and T Hussell1

Mucosal Immunology: in press 2015

1 Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, Manchester University, Core Technology Facility, Manchester, UK. 2 University of Manchester NIHR Translational Research Facility, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust, Manchester,UK and 3 AstraZeneca R&D Mo¨ lndal, Mo¨ lndal, Sweden. Correspondence: T Hussell (tracy.hussell@manchester.ac.uk

4 These authors contributed equally to this work

Received 13 October 2014; accepted 1 December 2014; doi:10.1038/mi.2014.129

Much of the biology surrounding macrophage functional specificity has arisen through examining inflammation-induced polarizing signals, but this also occurs in homeostasis, requiring tissue-specific environmental triggers that influence macrophage phenotype and function. The TAM receptor family of receptor tyrosine kinases (Tyro3, Axl and MerTK) mediates the non-inflammatory removal of apoptotic cells by phagocytes through the bridging phosphatidylserine-binding molecules growth arrest-specific 6 (Gas6) or Protein S. We show that one such TAM receptor (Axl) is exclusively expressed on mouse airway macrophages, but not interstitial macrophages and other lung leukocytes, under homeostatic conditions and is constitutively ligated to Gas6. Axl expression is potently induced by granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor expressed in the healthy and inflamed airway, and by type I interferon or Toll-like receptor-3 stimulation on human and mouse macrophages, indicating potential involvement of Axl in apoptotic cell removal under inflammatory conditions. Indeed, an absence of Axl does not cause sterile inflammation in health, but leads to exaggerated lung inflammatory disease upon influenza infection. These data imply that Axl allows specific identification of airway macrophages, and that its expression is critical for macrophage functional compartmentalization in the airspaces or lung interstitium. We propose that this may be a critical feature to prevent excessive inflammation because of secondary necrosis of apoptotic cells that have not been cleared by efferocytosis.

Tracy has a joint publication with GlaxoSmithKline

An epithelial circadian clock controls pulmonary inflammation and glucocorticoid action.


The circadian system is an important regulator of immune function. Human inflammatory lung diseases frequently show time-of-day variation in symptom severity and lung function, but the mechanisms and cell types underlying these effects remain unclear. We show that pulmonary antibacterial responses are modulated by a circadian clock within epithelial club (Clara) cells. These drive circadian neutrophil recruitment to the lung via the chemokine CXCL5. Genetic ablation of the clock gene Bmal1 (also called Arntl or MOP3) in bronchiolar cells disrupts rhythmic Cxcl5 expression, resulting in exaggerated inflammatory responses to lipopolysaccharide and an impaired host response to Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. Adrenalectomy blocks rhythmic inflammatory responses and the circadian regulation of CXCL5, suggesting a key role for the adrenal axis in driving CXCL5 expression and pulmonary neutrophil recruitment. Glucocorticoid receptor occupancy at the Cxcl5 locus shows circadian oscillations, but this is disrupted in mice with bronchiole-specific ablation of Bmal1, leading to enhanced CXCL5 expression despite normal corticosteroid secretion. The therapeutic effects of the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone depend on intact clock function in the airway. We now define a regulatory mechanism that links the circadian clock and glucocorticoid hormones to control both time-of-day variation and the magnitude of pulmonary inflammation and responses to bacterial infection.

Dan Davis was quoted in this article in this week's New Scientist

Dan will also be appearing at Your Manchester Insights in London on 26/02/2015

November 2014

Dan Davis Lab

  • Our lab has published a new research paper, The immune synapse clears and excludes molecules above a size threshold, in Nature Communications
  • Our latest research is discussed for a general audience, including in a brief video
  • Dan also recorded a brief 4 minute video for A-level students, about genes, immunity and human diversity
  • Our lab also went on a stimulating retreat in York, see photos
  • Two new PhD students have joined the lab, Katie Walwyn-Brown and Danny Friedman!
  • Dan presented The Compatibility Gene at The Old Dancer pub in Wilmslow!

Andrew Macdonald Lab

Lauren Webb from Andrew MacDonald lab was an invited speaker at the ASTMH in New Orleans (2nd-6th Nov), where she spoke about Type I IFN and Th2 induction by dendritic cells.

At the end of the month, Andrew gave a seminar to the Edinburgh Immunology Group about dendritic cells and Type 2 inflammation.

AstraZeneca have released a case study and video about our collaboration. Here is what they said about The MCCIR:

"The Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR) is a unique, tripartite collaboration between the University of Manchester, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. Through sharing of ideas, the partners aim to develop novel concepts in inflammation research that may lead to new discoveries to help patients with unmet clinical needs in therapy areas like oncology, respiratory and cardiovascular."

Please read the case study or find out more on the AstraZeneca website.

Professor Dan Davis has also discussed the MCCIR collaboration on the AZ LabTalk blog.

October 2014

Andrew MacDonald enjoyed hosting Soren Beinke, Paul Redford and Nikolai Belyaev from the Refractory Respiratory-Inflammation DPU at GSK Stevenage for their visit to MCCIR on the 6th October to discuss lung epithelial and dendritic cell activation.

He was an invited speaker at the European Mucosal Immunology Group meeting in Glasgow (Oct 9th-12th), where he spoke about epigenetic regulation of dendritic cell function in pulmonary and intestinal inflammation, and also at the Portugese Society of Immunology meeting in Lisbon (Oct 13th - 15th), where he spoke about dendritic cells in Type 2 inflammation.

Our paper with Susanna Fagerholm on beta2-integrins and dendritic cells was published in Nature Communications ('Loss of beta2-integrin-mediated cytoskeletal linkage reprogrammed dendritic cells to a mature migratory phenotype.' Morrison et al., Nature Communications 5: 5349.)

Mark Travis gave an invited talk at the European Mucosal Immunology group meeting in Glasgow, 9th-12th October, entitled 'Regulation of TGF-beta activation in intestinal immunity'.

Felipe Melo Gonzalez also gave a poster at the same conference entitled 'Intestinal mucin-dendritic cell crosstalk in gut homeostasis'.

Mark Exley had 3 external talks in October:
Medimmune, Cambridge, UK. Host: Robert Wilkinson 10.14 Understanding & Exploiting the NKT cell:CD1d System in Cancer and Other Diseases
Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK. Host: Arthur Kaser 10.14 Understanding & Exploiting the NKT cell:CD1d System in Cancer and Other Diseases
Immunobiology, Guy's Hospital, King's College London 10.14 Host: Patricia Barral Understanding & Exploiting the NKT cell:CD1d System in Cancer and Other Diseases.

Joanne Konkel and three others, have a PhD advertised through the MRC DTP programme. "(MRC DTP Studentship) Role of periodontal disease in modulating inflammation and outcome after stroke"

The MCCIR had its second annual bake off in September.

There were lots of great entries but this year's winner was Gareth Howell with his amazing chocolate brownies.

AstraZeneca filming in the MCCIR

At the start of the month, AstraZeneca joined us for some filming. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos.

Dan Davis is celebrating having his book shortlisted for the prestigious Society of Biology Book Awards.

Read the full story on the main University website: Manchester Professor has book shortlisted for prestigious prize.

September 2014

Fluorescence Microscopy for Understanding Cell Biology in Health and Disease

We held our Microscopy meeting on September 30th. Here's some photos from the event.

Fluorescence Microscopy for Understanding Cell Biology in Health and Disease

Our upcoming Microscopy meeting will be on September 30th. Download the programme for the meeting (PDF).

View the Flyer for this meeting.

Map and directions (PDF) to the venue.

New post doc at MCCIR wins best poster at the British Pharmacological Society James Black Meeting: Inspired Biologics 2014.

Dr Naoya Fujino, a clinician scientist, performed the studies at AstraZeneca with Professor Rose Maciewicz Respiratory, Inflammation, Autoimmunity iMed) in conjunction with Dr Hiroshi Kubo at Tohoku University. The work he describes forms the basis of a collaborative project between AstraZeneca and the MCCIR exploring the link between immune response and tissue remodeling during respiratory disease.

Congratulations to Anna Oszmiana who won the poster prize for all PhD students in Life Sciences. There were 78 to compete with but Anna won with her poster “Distinct nano-scale organization of paired receptors at Natural Killer cell surfaces revealed by super-resolution”. Well done!

Andrew MacDonald was in Tours, France at the International Dendritic Cell congress, presenting their data on Type I IFN and dentritic cell activation during Th2 responses. He also acted as external examiner on Imperial College’s MSC Immunology.

New publications

Laura Hand, Mark Exley, and colleagues:

The interplay between the immune system and adipose in obesity.
Exley M, Hand LE, O'Shea D, Lynch L.
J Endocrinol. 2014 Sep 16. pii: JOE-13-0516. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25228503

Andrew MacDonald

Reynolds et al, JI 193(6):2984-31. MyD88 signaling inhibits protective immunity to the gastrointestinal helminth parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus.
Robson et al, Cancer Res 74(18):5019-31. Optimal effector functions in human natural killer cells rely upon autocrine bone morphogenetic protein signaling.

August 2014

Amy Saunders has a paper coming out in the Journal of Immunology next month.

Dan Davis's book The Compatibility Gene is published as a Penguin paperback on 28th August.

One year in, the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research has under gone its first Scientific Advisory Board review; scrutinised by Professors Sir Marc Feldmann, David Wraith, Bill Paul and Mike Dustin.

We emphasise major collaborations with our industrial partners AstraZeneca (AZ) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and have grown into a centre of 78 people; 7 professors, 3 career track fellows, 29 postdoctoral research associates, 29 PhD students, 7 technicians and 3 administrative staff. Despite relocating teams from Imperial College London, Harvard University, Germany, NIH and Edinburgh, we have published 37 papers since arrival, including 11 in journals of impact factor greater than 10, secured two Sir Henry Dale Fellowships, attracted funding for examining skin health from Unilever and £478,349 for determining important mechanisms by which T-cell responses are controlled in the intestine from the MRC.

The MCCIR are currently awaiting the outcome of approximately £8M of funding, predominantly in translational research. We consider that our efforts to date have outstripped the expectations set by the MCCIR management board and that we have established this unique centre as a credit all of those involved.

The photo gallery shows a few pictures that were taken on the day of the SAB Meeting

July 2014

Mark Travis

Mark Travis has done some great public engagement recently.

He has visited Chapelford Village Nursery and Primary school to chat with 32 2-4 year olds and year 6 students for the 'World of Work' week to tell them about what a career in science entails, and specifically about our work on how the immune system keeps us healthy in the intestine and how our food gives us energy, how we can get infected by worms and how scientists do experiments to find out how our bodies work.

Mark has also been awarded a 3 year MRC grant to study the interplay between Tregs, T-cells and TGF-beta.

Mark was also on a USA tour, where I was spreading the good word of MCCIR, he gave seminars at the University of Pennsylvania (host: Chris Hunter), New York University (host: Dan Littman), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre/Cornell University (host: Ming Li) and NIH (host: Yasmine Belkaid).

Dan Davis presented The Compatibility Gene at Latitude Festival. His immunology talk was well attended, even though it clashed with Dara O'Briain over on the comedy stage and an impromptu gig from Lily Allen on the lake stage!

Andrew swimming

Andrew MacDonald was teaching at the beginning of the month the 'Immunobiology of Schistosomiasis’ on the Biology of Parasitism course in Woods Hole, USA.

Also Andrew did the Great Manchester Swim and raised a fantastic £565 for The Christie.

You can still sponsor Andrew on his Just Giving page.

Prof Marc Clancy from the Glasgow Transplant Centre visited the perfusion lab for the day. The group, run by James Fildes, performed their first kidney perfusion and managed to recondition a severely damaged kidney in the space of an hour so that it started effectively filtering blood and producing urine. The team turned it off after about 3 hours but they are now confident they can reverse the inflammatory process and induce repair in kidneys. They now intend to set up a research programme in this area, to see if poorly functioning donor kidneys can be reconditioned for transplantation.

May 2014

Dan Davis presented The Compatibility Gene on the Wales Stage at The Hay Festival. The talk was attended by 700 people and was chaired by Liz Hunt, Deputy Editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Dan also published a new article in Nature Reviews Immunology: Presenting the Marvels of Immunity.

The Fildes group have published another paper on ex-vivo lung perfusion, this time in the journal, Transplantation, demonstrating that lung transplantation using EVLP reconditioned marginal lungs does not impact on the incidence of acute rejection or infection in the first year.

April 2014

The MCCIR would like to welcome Michelle Campbell (Research Assistant) and Rajia Bahri (Research Associate).

They will be working with Silvia Bulfone-Paus Professor of Immunobiology.

Andrew MacDonalds Lab

Andrew MacDonald gave a seminar on dendritic cell involvement in Type 2 inflammation during schistosome infection, at the British Society for Parasitology annual congress in Cambridge. Also, Andrew was the ‘opponent’ (i.e. external examiner) on a PhD viva in Lund, Sweden. This is a public defence, and quite a different experience to the standard UK viva! The topic was ’The ontogeny and function of intestinal dendritic cells’.

Lauren Webb from Andrew MacDonald’s lab gave a talk about her work on Type I IFN and dendritic cell function at the Woods Hole Immunoparasiotology conference in the USA.

Well-done to Profs Andrew MacDonald and Richard Grencis they have been awarded Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support funding to establish a germ free murine facility in the BSF. This specialised facility will open up an exciting range of new research possibilities for those trying to understand in the impact of the microbiome on health and disease.

For more information or to register you interest, please contact Prof MacDonald who will be academic lead for the new facility.

Immunology touted as next big thing for popular science

Professor Daniel Davis says that scientists are using a number of innovative ways to generate public discussion on immunology and the time is right for people to get to grips with the subject.

His paper, published in Nature Reviews Immunology, coincides with the International Day of Immunology, argues that now is the right time for immunology to become the next big trend in popular science – to inform new discussions about health and disease.

Well-done to Profs Andrew MacDonald and Richard Grencis they have been awarded Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support funding to establish a germ free murine facility in the BSF. This specialised facility will open up an exciting range of new research possibilities for those trying to understand in the impact of the microbiome on health and disease.

Dan's Talk At TEDxYouth@Manchester has had over 10,000 people click “Like” over just 4 days !

March 2014

A busy few weeks for the MacDonald lab

They have recently published a paper in EJI on T cell DNA methylation during helminth infection

Andrew is just back from giving three seminars on dendritic cells and Type 2 inflammation at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, The Sanger Institute in Cambridge, and UCL London.

Andrew MacDonald and Pete Cook have been involved in all things gut and worm related, at The Body Experience hosted by the Manchester Museum as part of the National Science and Engineering week.

New paper

James Fildes has had a paper accepted in Journal of Heart and Lung, the details are; John P Stone, Hannah Sevenoaks, Trygve Sjöberg, Stig Steen, Nizar Yonan, James E Fildes. Mechanical removal of dendritic cell generating non-classical monocytes via ex-vivo lung perfusion. J Heart Lung Trans. In press.

The Body Experience

Andrew MacDonald at Body Experience

Members of MCCIR and the Manchester Immunology Group helped out at a flagship public engagement event at Manchester Museum in March, held as part of National Science. The volunteers ran the ‘Worm Wagon’ exhibition as part of ‘The Body Experience’, an event where members of the public visit exhibitions representing different body parts, learning how they keep us healthy and what goes wrong during disease. The Worm Wagon, the brainchild of Sheena Cruickshank, Kathryn Else and Jo Pennock from the Manchester Immunology Group, allows the public to learn all about our intestine and how the immune system there helps fight infection. The public can guess how long the intestine is, see gruesome samples of worms that infect people’s guts, and delve their hands in a bucket full of ‘mucus’ to learn about how this protective goo can help us fight infection!

International Wound Care Awards

The Fildes lab and collaborators at UHSM were 2nd place finalists for the Best Clinical Research Award of 2014 as part of the International Wound Care Awards recently held in the UK. This was in recognition of their work assessing the effects of vacuum drains following vein harvesting for CABG. The team leader for the award, Bhuvana Krishnamoorthy, was also ranked 3rd for research into wound assessment and diagnostics.

Lectures and discussions with Professor Dan Davis

Dan Davis presents a number of public lectures and discussions in the first half of 2014, as follows:

Nature Review article

Alveolar macrophages: plasticity in a tissue-specific context. Innate immunity in the lungs is regulated by micro-environmental cues to prevent excess inflammation in response to innocuous antigen, whilst still providing a critical first line of defence against inhaled pathogens. In our latest review published in the February issue of Nature Reviews Immunology we describe the unique phenotype of alveolar macrophages and discuss how they are regulated by both the respiratory epithelium and the specialised micro-environment of the airways. This regulatory environment often changes following inflammatory episodes such as infection or allergy, resulting in heightened regulation of alveolar macrophages and an increased threshold at which an immune response is initiated. Whilst perhaps limiting the damage caused by excess inflammation, tipping the balance of macrophage activation in this way severly restricts anti-bacterial immunity, and likely contributes to the bacterial pneumonia observed in many patients following respiratory viral infection as well as patients with asthma or COPD. The work on-going at the MCCIR will further our understanding of the complex regulation of innate immunity in lung health and will allow us to target these mechanisms to treat respiratory conditions by repairing the balance of activating and repressing signals.

Hussell, T. & Bell, T.J. Alveolar macrophages: plasticity in a tissue-specific context, Nature Reviews Immunology, 14, 81-93 (2014)

February 2014

New fellowship award

Congratulations to John Worthington who has been awarded a University Stepping Stones Fellowship (funded by the Wellcome Trust) to investigate the interactions between the gut's endocrine and immune systems during homeostasis and inflammation.

New publication

Lexmond WS, Neves JF, Nurko S, Olszak T, Exley MA, Blumberg RS, Fiebiger E. Involvement of the iNKT Cell Pathway Is Associated With Early-Onset Eosinophilic Esophagitis and Response to Allergen Avoidance Therapy. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Feb 11. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2014.12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24513807.

Professor Dan Davis takes part in a TEDxYouth event.

January 2014

New publication

Subramanian M, Kini R, Madasu M, Ohta A, Nowak M, Exley M, Sitkovsky M, Ohta A. Extracellular adenosine controls NKT-cell-dependent hepatitis induction. Eur J Immunol. 2014 Jan 22. doi: 10.1002/eji.201343866. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24448964.

December 2013

Senior management of AstraZenecca visit the MCCIR

Mene Pangalos, Maarten Kraan and Rose Maciewicz visited the MCCIR on 13th December 2013, to review progress one year since the launch. This interaction was received enthusiastically by all MCCIR researchers. Every member of the now 64-strong team had the opportunity to present their research in the form of posters, one-to-one meetings and laboratory tours. The Centre launched in March of 2013 following the recruitment of selected academics who perform explorative research in inflammation.

Key points that were raised by the visit were:

  • The rapid development of the centre
  • The diversity of research performed
  • The development of novel technologies
  • The significant added value of combining investment with other pharmaceutical companies and clinical and academic teams with established research portfolios.

Of specific interest to our visitors was the explorative science that can be achieved using the super-resolution microscopy facility and the MCCIR’s recent development of ex vivo perfused human heart and lung technology. Enthusiastic discussions were held around new concepts in inflammatory lung disease and their explanation of those with the more severe forms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Specific points going forward:

  1. We should soon see AstraZeneca co-authors on MCCIR publications.
  2. The MCCIR would welcome the integration of industrial teams into the Centre where the fit promotes rapid progression to translation.
  3. We will organise a keystone-style meeting, including presentations from industrial, clinical and industrial scientists.
  4. MCCIR would welcome inclusion in the design and sampling of future clinical trials.

The Compatibility Gene was a Guardian Book of the Year 2013, picked by Bill Bryson.

We published 3 papers in November, as follows:

Aucher A, Rudnicka D, Davis DM. MicroRNAs Transfer from Human Macrophages to Hepato-Carcinoma Cells and Inhibit Proliferation. J Immunol. 2013 Nov 13.

Pageon SV, Aquino G, Lagrue K, Köhler K, Endres RG, Davis DM. Dynamics of natural killer cell receptor revealed by quantitative analysis of photoswitchable protein. Biophys J. 2013 Nov 5;105(9):1987-96. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.09.025.

Delcassian D, Depoil D, Rudnicka D, Liu M, Davis DM, Dustin ML, Dunlop IE. Nanoscale ligand spacing influences receptor triggering in T cells and NK cells. Nano Lett. 2013 Nov 13;13(11):5608-14.

and one review:

Lagrue K, Carisey A, Oszmiana A, Kennedy PR, Williamson DJ, Cartwright A, Barthen C, Davis DM. The central role of the cytoskeleton in mechanisms and functions of the NK cell immune synapse. Immunol Rev. 2013 Nov;256(1):203-21. doi: 10.1111/imr.12107.

Dan also did several talks in November, including a keynote speech at the AstraZeneca Science Symposium on Nov 6th, two lectures in Cambridge, and one in St. Anne's Fulshaw Primary school, Cheshire, on 'Your Amazing Blood'.

November 2013

Charity fundraising with MCCIR

The MCCIR are continuing in our efforts to help children across the globe. Last month we raised over £70 for the Save The Children Typhoon Haiyan appeal.

This time we have decided to join with Real Radio to support the charity When you wish upon a star, which was set up to grant the wishes of children who are suffering from life threatening illness.

We are asking as many people as possible to ‘Bring a Pound to Work’ on Friday 13th December (this will be collected by Sarah Ingham and Helen Tweddle - Room 2.11, second floor, CTF Building.)

Dan Davis at the Manchester Science Festival

MCCIR Professor Daniel Davis gave two talks at The Manchester Science Festival earlier in the month.

Professor Davis's lab also published two new papers this month. One demonstrates that Nanoscale Ligand Spacing Influences Receptor Triggering in T Cells and NK Cells. Nano Lett. 2013 Oct 21. The other is a review of the central role of the cytoskeleton in mechanisms and functions of the NK cell immune synapse. Immunol Rev. 2013 Nov;256(1):203-21. doi: 10.1111/imr.12107.

The Compatibility Gene received a wonderful review in the New York Times and as a result, all copies sold out across the USA. The book is now being reprinted. Dan was also interviewed The Smithsonian Magazine.

Finally, Dan's lab group presented their research at The Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. Adam Cartwright, Kat Lagrue, and Dan discussed microscopy with George Freeman MP and many others.

October 2013

New publication

Shrestha D, Exley MA, Vereb G, Szöllősi J, Jenei A. CD1d favors MHC neighborhood, GM(1) ganglioside proximity and low detergent sensitive membrane regions on the surface of B lymphocytes. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Oct 25. 1840(1):667-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2013.10.030. PubMed PMID: 24513453.

September 2013

Interest in The Compatibility Gene continues...

Cover of The Compatibility Gene

MCCIR Professor Daniel Davis has recently published a popular level book about our immune system entitled The Compatibility Gene (Penguin books). Professor Davis discusses, among other things, how immune system genes can influence sexual attraction and the success of pregnancy. The book also contains many anecdotes and biographies of those who undertook the research, as well as Dan and his wife Katie’s personal experience of having their DNA analysed for the research.

Professor Davis and his wife have been interviewed about The Compatibility Gene on BBC breakfast.

There is an article about Dan and The Compatability Gene available in The New York Times.

The Compatibility Gene has also received excellent reviews in the New Scientist, The Times, The Guardian and New Statesman.

Details about the book are available on Amazon, and more information about The Compatibility Gene as well as other research undertaken by Professor Davis can be found on his website, Dan Davis Lab.

August 2013

Professor Davis with a copy of The Compatibility Gene

Nice genes! What makes you genetically compatible with your partner?

Professor Dan Davis's book, The Compatibility Gene, was published by Penguin on August 29th. The book has been receiving some rave reviews and Professor Davis has found himself at the centre of wide press interest.

July 2013

John represents the Institute of Inflammation and Repair at Faculty of Medicine showcase

John Stone

John Stone, a PhD student at the MCCIR, has been selected to represent the Institute of Inflammation and Repair at this year's Faculty of Medicine showcase. This is an amazing achievement given that he is only in the 9th month of his PhD, yet has made several important findings which could change clinical practice in lung transplantation on an international scale.

John successfully applied for a Medical Research Council funded PhD, and was then awarded a Science and Society award from the Manchester Alumni. He is studying how a novel procedure called ex-vivo lung perfusion can recondition poorly functioning donor lungs so that they can be used for transplantation (recently reported in the Manchester Alumni magazine).

Promoting Science

Mark Travis with a pupil

Dr Mark Travis recently took part in a public engagement event sponsored by the Royal Society of Biology and the BBSRC, alongside Dr Joanne Pennock.The aim of the event was the promotion of science in inner city schools, and from the reaction of those who attended it appears to have been a great success.

June 2013

Microbes, microbes everywhere!

A child's drawing from the science week

In June this year, Gloria Lopez-Castejon ran the science week “Microbes, microbes everywhere” for the second year running at Wilmslow Grange Primary school (Handforth, Cheshire). Throughout the week, pupils from year 6 learned about microorganisms and the immune system.

The class was transformed into a lab, and pupils learnt about how we are surrounded by microorganisms, how we use them in our everyday life, and how bad they can be for us. Activities ran throughout the week included yeast races, using a glow gel and black light to see how dirty hands are, learning how scientists grow bacteria on agar plates, and how to use a microscope. The week ended with an open day where Year 6 pupils demonstrated some of the activities to other pupils in the school, family, and friends. All children agreed that the project made them want to find out more about science, and that they would be really happy to visit a real laboratory.

Get connected3 conference announcement on the WTCCMR website

The WTCCMR and the MCCIR are proud to be presenting this year’s Get Connected conference: Get Connected 3: Immuno Matrix. The conference will be held from the 11th – 13th of September. Read more about the conference.

President's Doctoral Scholar success for Will Critchley

Will Critchley

One of the MCCIR's PhD students, Will Critchley, has been bestowed with the prestigious President’s Doctoral Scholar for 2013. This award is given to the most outstanding students from across the UK and from around the world, and reflects Will’s potential to develop into an outstanding independent researcher, based on his academic track record and research successes so far.

Will successfully applied for a BBSRC funded PhD studentship entitled ‘Homeostatic mechanisms underlying myocardial repair – a systems approach’, and will be at the MCCIR until at least 2016. He will work on identifying proteins involved in the control of inflammation and myocardial repair following injury.

April 2013

Video Reveals Cancer Cells' Achilles' Heel

A fruitful visit to AstraZeneca

A fruitful visit to AstraZeneca

Professor Dan Davis and his team have discovered why the cancer drug rituximab kills cancerous B cells so effectively. These findings could be crucial to the design of future cancer treatments. They made the discovery after making videos of the process by which rituximab binds to a diseased cell and then attracts white blood cells, known as natural killer cells, to attack.

Read more about the cancer cells' Achilles heel.

A Visit to AstraZeneca

The recent vist created “fruitful” discussions on priority areas in inflammation. The MCCIR will provide a portal for developing more risky, but revolutionary, concepts and pathways that lead to future drug discovery.

March 2013

Official launch

The Centre's official launch was on 11th March 2013, at the Midland Hotel, Manchester.

View the launch brochure.

View our launch videos.


“Many thanks for the invitation to the Launch of the MCCIR on Monday. It was a very impressive event and I was very pleased to be there...... I wish you every success with your exciting venture.”

Timothy John Williams PhD, FMedSci, FRS Emeritus Professor
Senior Research Investigator - Airway Disease Section, NHLI, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London.

“I enjoyed the day and came away impressed with your prospects as an Inflammation Centre.”

Siamon Gordon, FRS
GlaxoWellcome Professor of Cellular Pathology, University of Oxford

“Congratulations to all.

It was a great success and bodes well for the future. I have also received lots of good feedback about your talks, the day overall and the potential of MCCIR - there was sense of a strong dynamic team.”

Professor Ian Jacobs
Vice President, The University of Manchester Dean & Head School of Medicine, Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences, Director - MAHSC (Manchester Academic Health Science Centre)

“Hello, having a large glass of wine and feel knackered.”

Tracy Hussell

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