Grants awarded: Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowships

Project summaries of Wellcome grants awarded under the scheme ‘Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowships’.


Dr Chrysothemis Brown

University College London

The role of the gut microbiota in systemic immune responses and autoimmune arthritis

Hundreds of bacterial species live inside our gut. These organisms play a beneficial role in shaping the development of the immune system. However, alterations in gut microbes have been associated with inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune arthritis.

This study will address the role of our gut bacteria in the development of T cells, immune cells that control the body’s response to infection and play an important role in suppressing and enhancing inflammation. I will study the effect of alterations in gut bacteria after a course of antibiotics and I hope to identify particular organisms or their products that influence whether a T cell becomes pro- or anti-inflammatory.

I will determine if particular gut bacteria can alter the risk of developing childhood arthritis and hope to identify new treatment strategies aimed at restoring a healthy relationship between gut bacteria and the immune system.

Dr Alexander Douglas

University of Oxford

Functional genomics of malaria sporozoite – host hepatocyte interactions

Microbes invade human cells to cause disease. This invasion process usually involves interactions between human and microbial proteins. Understanding the process allows the design of strategies to prevent disease by blocking the interactions. The malaria parasite has to invade human liver cells before it can get into the bloodstream where it causes the symptoms and complications of malaria infection. There is virtually no molecular-level understanding of how it does this.

This research proposal suggests that recently developed experimental techniques offer the potential to unpick this biological mystery. The project will use two different approaches to try to identify the parasite and human molecules involved in this process. A large set of proteins which might be involved will be produced in the laboratory and tested to see whether they stick to each other. This approach has been highly successful in identifying other important human-microbe interactions. Then a new technique will be used to remove liver cell surface proteins one at a time, followed by a test to see whether the parasite can still invade the cells.

The results of this study should help to point the way towards creating more effective malaria vaccines in the future.

Dr Louis Grandjean

University College London

The genomics of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis transmission

An estimated 37 million lives were saved by tuberculosis treatment between 2000 and 2013. However, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis threatens this treatment success and costs 10 times more to treat. Also, the few remaining effective antibiotics available have significant side-effects. Tuberculosis infects and destroys human lung tissue creating a cavity from which it is coughed out and passed in the air to infect other people. Until recently it was thought that all tuberculosis bacteria shared similar DNA and this did not influence person-to-person disease spread. Now that it is possible to examine the entire bacterial DNA sequence it has been shown that tuberculosis bacteria are far from similar.

In collaboration with tuberculosis geneticists, we have shown that some multidrug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria are evolving and mutating in a way that may help the bacteria to survive and spread from person to person. This project will study bacterial DNA to determine which bacteria are most likely to spread and become drug-resistant, and how these bacteria may evade the human immune system.

Identifying which bacteria are more likely to become drug resistant and spread from person to person could allow us to intervene to prevent drug resistance and the spread of the disease.

Dr Andrew Smyth

National University of Ireland, Galway

Identifying interventions to prevent and manage chronic kidney disease

Kidney disease is defined by reduced kidney function and characterised by increased levels of creatinine in the blood and/or increased levels of protein in the urine is. It is a common disease which may increase the risk of other conditions including heart attack, stroke and premature death. The most severe form of kidney disease requires dialysis or a kidney transplant, which are expensive and complex interventions.

I will work on multiple types of research study. and with global leaders in nephrology from McMaster University, Canada and the University of Oxford on a large streamlined trial testing of a blood pressure medication and/or a modification to the dialysis machine to reduce the risk of death or cardiovascular events in patients on dialysis. I will also explore the role of sodium intake as a possible risk factor for kidney disease progression by testing whether reducing patients’ salt intake has a beneficial effect. I will also work on a large international study exploring how common kidney disease develops and if risk factors vary between regions.

This research will help to develop programmes to prevent kidney disease and reduce severe kidney disease in different parts of the world.

Mr Jignesh Tailor

Institute of Cancer Research

Functional genomic screens to determine initiating and maintenance events in human medulloblastoma

Medulloblastoma (MB) is a malignant brain tumour that inflicts devastating consequences on the developing child. Although scientific advances are giving us new insights into the disease’s genetic mutations, there is still little known about how normal human brain cells transform into cancer cells. We recently developed a method to isolate and maintain neuroepithelial stem (NES) cells from the human hindbrain where these tumours arise. The introduction of genetic changes in these cells leads to the generation of human medulloblastoma in tumour growth models. NES cells are candidate cells of origin for medulloblastoma and provide a unique platform to study cancer genes in a human context.

In this project, we aim to identify genes that are important for the formation and survival of medulloblastoma cells using neural stem cell models and gene editing tools.

The ability to model these processes entirely in human cells will help us identify new therapeutic targets for this malignant disease.


Dr Kate Baker

University of Cambridge

Mathematical modelling frameworks for incorporating bacterial genomics into antimicrobial stewardship

Kate is a veterinarian working on the genomic epidemiology of antimicrobial-resistant gut pathogens. Antimicrobial resistance is an important global problem, and is encoded in the genetics of bacteria in many different ways. During her Fellowship, Kate will look at whether the different ways that antimicrobial resistance can be encoded create differences in how the resistance emerges and is maintained in bacterial populations. Using this information, she will determine how we can use the antimicrobials we have (and any new ones we get) in the smartest way possible to prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Peter Connick

University of Edinburgh

Information processing deficits in multiple sclerosis

Peter is a neurologist with an interest in developing new clinical techniques for the detection and monitoring of disease progression in the CNS disconnection syndromes that typify neurodegenerative and white matter diseases. Such techniques a key prerequisite for the application of regenerative medicine against the substantial and growing public health challenge of neurodegenerative disease in the developed world. Peter's research uses techniques from experimental psychology and psychophysics to dissect and quantify the fundamental cognitive deficits that result in the 'slow thinking' (reduced information processing speed) that characterises cognitive impairment in people with multiple sclerosis.

Dr Michael Devine

University College London

Studying the impact of alpha-synuclein mutations on mitochondrial dynamics and synaptic function in neurons

Dr Gabriel Galea

University College London

The cellular mechanobiology of mammalian neural tube closure

Gabriel is a veterinarian investigating mechanisms by which neuroepithelial cells respond to biomechanical forces generated during neural tube closure. In different contexts, mechanical strain orchestrates cell division by activating signalling cascades including the integrin and planar cell polarity (PCP) pathways. Gabriel will initially map strains generated in the mouse neuroepithelium during neural tube closure, and then clarify correlations between strain magnitude/direction and the rate/orientation of neuroepithelial division. Potential roles of integrin and PCP signalling in establishing these correlations will be investigated using pharmacological and transgenic approaches. Gabriel will be working in Professor Andrew Copp’s laboratory at University College London.

Dr Bethan Psaila

University of Oxford

The role of megakaryocytes in myeloproliferative neoplasms

Beth is a haematologist with an interest in the role of megakaryocytes in myeloproliferative neoplasms. Working with Professor Adam Mead and Professor Irene Roberts at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Beth will be using single-cell profiling to study the molecular mechanisms underlying abnormal megakaryopoiesis in myelofibrosis and the pathways by which megakaryocytes contribute to bone marrow fibrosis. She will collaborate with Dr David Bodine of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, where she will undertake part of her Fellowship.


Dr Anita Chandra

University of Cambridge

Does enhanced PI3K signalling render activated PI3K delta syndrome patients susceptible to infections by interfering with B-cell development and activation?

Anita is a clinical immunologist working on a newly described primary immunodeficiency syndrome, activated PI3K delta syndrome. Her research will investigate the effects of aberrant PI3K signalling on B-cell development and function in patients and in a mouse model of the disease. Her aim is that these mechanistic studies will inform future clinical trials of selective PI3 kinase inhibitors in patients. She will undertake her project in the laboratory of Dr Klaus Okkenhaug at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge.

Dr Alexander Clarke

University of Oxford

Autophagy and metabolism in B-cell immunity

Alex is exploring the role of autophagy and cell metabolism in the development and function of B cells. Autophagy is a process in which cells may recycle their constituents in times of stress, in order to promote survival. However, in the healthy immune system, lymphocytes which happen to recognise and would attack our own tissues are eliminated to prevent autoimmune disease. Autophagy may be activated during the attempted removal of these autoreactive B cells, leading to their survival and the development of diseases such as lupus. Autophagy could therefore be a potential target in the treatment of immune disease. Alex will be working in the laboratory of Dr Katja Simon, and will be closely collaborating with Dr Jan Rehwinkel and Professor Richard Cornall.

Dr Adam Croft

University of Birmingham

The role of interactions between regulatory T lymphocytes and fibroblasts in the resolution of inflammation

Adam is a rheumatologist investigating the interactions between regulatory T cells and synovial fibroblasts in inflammatory arthritis. His research is based at the University of Birmingham with Professor Christopher Buckley and Professor Graham Anderson, examining the role of regulatory T cells in the maintenance of a pro-inflammatory fibroblast phenotype. Adam will use mouse models of resolving versus persistent inflammation to elucidate the mechanism of these cell interactions and their effects on the persistence of inflammation. The project will involve close collaboration with Professor Derek Gilroy (UCL) and Professor Alexander Betz (MRC, Cambridge).

Dr Natalie Finch

University of Bristol

Ehd proteins, VEGF signalling and loss of glomerular endothelial cell fenestrations in the pathophysiology of diabetic nephropathy

Natalie is a veterinary surgeon investigating the role of Eps15 homology domain 3 and 4 (Ehd3 and 4) proteins in the regulation of glomerular endothelial cell fenestrations in diabetic nephropathy and their potential as therapeutic targets to restore kidney function. Natalie's Fellowship involves several aspects. Firstly, in vitro studies examining the effect of Ehd3 and 4 protein knockdown on fenestration formation and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) signalling; secondly, in vivo mouse models of diabetes confirming the effect of fenestration loss on reducing glomerular water permeability and Ehd3 and 4 dependent VEGFR2 signalling dysregulation; and finally, evaluating upregulation of Ehd3 to restore fenestration formation and water permeability in response to VEGF.

Dr Timothy Hinks

University of Southampton and University of Melbourne

Discovering the role of mucosal associated invariant T cells in respiratory immunity

Tim is a respiratory immunologist with an interest in the role of T cells in airways diseases and respiratory infections. His Fellowship focuses on exploring the role of a novel innate-like T-cell subset in protection against airway mucosal infections in both humans – using bronchoscopy studies – and transgenic murine models of clinically relevant pulmonary infections. He will be based initially at the NIHR Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, where he will also complete his clinical training, then spend two years in the new Peter Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, collaborating with Professor Gary Anderson and Professor James McCluskey.

Dr Simon Little

University College London

An investigation into the neurocomputational role of brain oscillations in human motor control for health and disease

Simon is a neurologist with an interest in oscillatory brain networks, and particularly how these contribute to both normal and abnormal movement control. Many movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, tremor and dystonia, are characterised by abnormal cortical and subcortical brain wave activity. This research project aims to understand the computational and mechanistic role of brain waves in the motor network in healthy subjects and in Parkinson's disease using high-resolution magnetoencephalography and novel deep-brain stimulation techniques, in order to inform new principled stimulation therapies for a range of neurological conditions.

Dr Deborah Lockhart

University of Dundee

Inhibition by proxy: targeting fungal chitin synthesis through sugar nucleotide biosynthesis

Deborah is a clinical microbiologist with a background in dentistry. Her interest lies in developing novel therapeutic strategies for invasive fungal infections. Specifically, she will investigate whether loss of a protein contributing to chitin synthesis in the fungal cell wall prevents pathogenicity in Aspergillus fumigatus, and will develop small-molecule inhibitors following the discovery of a binding pocket on the protein surface. During her Fellowship Deborah will work with Professor Daan van Aalten in the College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, and Professor Neil Gow in the Aberdeen Fungal Group, University of Aberdeen.

Dr Alison Price

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Community-level fatal and non-fatal stroke surveillance: providing the tools for evaluating interventions in hypertension and stroke in sub-Saharan Africa

Alison is establishing a community-level surveillance study to quantify the population burden of stroke and transient ischaemic attack (TIA) in Malawi.She will also collaborate with investigators from the ALPHA network of longitudinal population HIV studies in sub-Saharan Africa to investigate risk for stroke mortality attributable to HIV, antiretroviral treatment use and lifestyle factors. Alison’s work aims to inform the development of interventions for the prevention and management of stroke and TIA in this setting. Alison’s Fellowship will be undertaken with the Karonga Prevention Study, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with support from Professors Basia Zaba, Liam Smeeth and Moffat Nyirenda and Dr Amelia Crampin; and Professor Richard Walker, Newcastle University, and Dame Professor Valerie Beral, University of Oxford.

Dr Jelle van den Ameele

University of Cambridge

Metabolic reprogramming during neurogenesis: roles for the Notch pathway

Jelle is a neurologist with an interest in developmental neurobiology. During his Fellowship, he will investigate the metabolic changes that neural stem cells undergo upon differentiation into neurons, and which genes are involved in this metabolic reprogramming. Jelle will conduct this work in the laboratory of Professor Andrea Brand at the Gurdon Institute, where he will study development of the visual lobes of the Drosophila brain, an established reductionist model of development of the mammalian brain. Better understanding of these events will advance our understanding of mitochondrial disorders, neurodegeneration and cancer.

Dr Catriona Waitt

University of Liverpool

Understanding the pharmacokinetics of antiretroviral drugs in breastfeeding mother-infant pairs

Catriona is investigating the pharmacokinetics of antiretroviral drugs in breastfeeding HIV-positive mothers and their infants. Her sponsor is Professor Saye Khoo (HIV Pharmacology Group, University of Liverpool) but she will be based at the Infectious Diseases Institute, Makerere University, Uganda (collaborating with Dr Mohammed Lamorde and Dr Rosalind Parkes-Ratanshi), where the clinical cohort will be recruited. Collaboration with Professor Pontiano Kaleebu at the Uganda Vaccine Research Institute will enable exploration of virological pharmacodynamics. Population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models will be developed to describe the transfer of these drugs, seeking to identify pharmacokinetic reasons for development of HIV drug resistance in this population.


Dr Andrew Beggs

University of Birmingham

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Molecular stratification of rectal cancer

Andrew is investigating the causes of pathological complete response to pre-operative radiotherapy in rectal cancer. He is carrying out a multi-platform genomic study to explore these causes and to look for potential therapeutic targets that could 're-enable' radiosensitivity, sparing patients from unnecessarily invasive surgery. His research examines genetic and epigenetic changes (using next-generation sequencing), as well as intratumoural heterogeneity, tumour hypoxia, changes in telomere length, and double-strand DNA break repair capacity. The project involves close collaboration with Professor Ian Tomlinson and Dr Jean-Baptiste Cazier of the University of Oxford, and Professor Andrew Silver of Queen Mary, University of London.

Dr Claire Booth

University College London

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Targeted gene addition strategies for the treatment of primary immunodeficiencies using X-linked lymphoproliferative disease as a model

Claire is a paediatric immunologist developing gene therapy strategies to treat patients with primary immune deficiencies. Her Fellowship research focuses on applying gene-editing technologies to treat these conditions, using X-linked lymphoproliferative disease as a model. Her aim is to offer an alternative treatment option to children with immune disorders who lack a suitable donor for bone marrow transplantation. Claire will be based at the UCL Institute of Child Health and will collaborate with Professor Toni Cathomen at the Centre for Chronic Immunodeficiency in Freiburg.

Dr Sarah Crisp

University College London and University of Cambridge

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Pathological mechanisms in human disorders of glycinergic transmission

Sarah is investigating the roles of glycine receptor antibodies in neurological disease. These autoantibodies have recently been found in patients with acquired syndromes, including oculomotor and autonomic disturbance, rigidity and other evidence of disturbance of spinal inhibitory circuits. To investigate the pathogenic mechanisms underlying this, Sarah will work with Professor Dimitri Kullmann (UCL) to record glycinergic currents in cultured motoneurons incubated with IgG from patients. To complement the in vitro work, Sarah will work with Professor John Rothwell (UCL) and use non-invasive neurophysiological studies to identify affected circuits in patients. The project also involves close collaboration with Professor Angela Vincent (University of Oxford).

Dr Alessandra Geremia

University of Oxford

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Characterisation of innate lymphoid cells in intestinal pathophysiology

Alessandra will be investigating the role of innate lymphoid cells in the intestinal immune response and their contribution to chronic inflammation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These cells may play an important amplifying role in IBD through their interaction with other immune and non-immune cells. The project will be conducted in the Translational Gastroenterology Unit, University of Oxford, which integrates clinicians and scientists under the direction of Professor Fiona Powrie, and will benefit from an established collaboration with Professor Hergen Spits at the Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam.

Dr Jacqueline Maybin

University of Edinburgh

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

The role of hypoxia inducible factor in endometrial repair: a potential therapeutic target for heavy menstrual bleeding

Jacqueline will study the role of hypoxia inducible factor in post-menstrual endometrial repair, with the aim of identifying a non-hormonal treatment for women with heavy periods. She will start her fellowship in the laboratory of Professor Hilary Critchley in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh. The latter part of her project will be carried out in Professor Peter Carmeliet's laboratory in the Vesalius Research Centre at the Katholieke Universiteit, Belgium. The project will also involve close collaboration with Professor Philippa Saunders (MRC Centre for Reproductive Health) and Dr Nikhil Hirani (MRC Centre for Inflammation Research).

Mr Neal Millar

University of Glasgow

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

The role of microRNA in tendon disease

Neal is an Orthopaedic Surgeon Scientist investigating the molecular pathophysiology of tendinopathy, an overuse injury characterised by tendon pain and weakness, which has a significant burden of disease. His current focus is on understanding the role of microRNA in the post-transcriptional regulation of collagen synthesis and immediate tissue repair processes implicated in tendinopathy. His research aims to offer new insights into tissue damage, matrix remodelling and inflammatory responses in tendons that are potentially cross-regulated by microRNA and to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Dr Gabriele Pollara

University College London

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Defining protective immunity to human tuberculosis

Gabriele will be investigating the immunological responses to human tuberculosis infection that confer protection against the development of symptomatic active disease. His experimental work will take place in the laboratory of Dr Mahdad Noursadeghi (UCL) and will involve recruitment of individuals infected with tuberculosis both in the UK and in Peru, in collaboration with Professor David Moore (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

Dr Charlotte Summers

University of Cambridge

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Defining neutrophil-endothelial interactions in acute lung injury

Charlotte is a critical care physician investigating the pathophysiology of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Her research focuses on understanding how the mechanisms that prevent pulmonary neutrophil accumulation in health fail in ARDS. The first two years of Charlotte's Fellowship will be spent in the laboratory of Professor Mark Looney, University of California, and the latter part at the University of Cambridge with Professor Edwin Chilvers.


Dr James Chalmers

University of Dundee

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

The role in ESX-1, a novel protein secretion system, in Staphylococcus aureus virulence

James is studying a recently described type VII secretion system in Staphylococcus aureus and how this system contributes to virulence and the establishment of chronic respiratory infection. This work is performed in the Division of Molecular Microbiology, University of Dundee, led by Professor Tracy Palmer and in collaboration with Dundee's Drug Discovery Unit.

Dr Mandy Johnstone

University of Edinburgh

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and iPSC-derived neurons to explore cellular phenotypes associated with schizophrenia

Mandy will begin her Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, investigating how schizophrenia risk is conferred at a cellular level, through comparative studies of neural tissue derived from individuals with and without disease-associated mutations. Her goal is to better understand the molecular pathophysiology of schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders, using hiPSCs as in vitro models. Mandy is an academic psychiatrist and her research is undertaken in collaboration with Professor Andrew McIntosh (Division of Psychiatry), Dr Kirsty Millar (Institute for Genetics and Molecular Medicine) and Professor Siddharthan Chandran (Centre for Regenerative Medicine).

Dr Agatha van der Klaauw

University of Cambridge

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Genetic and physiological studies in obesity-associated neuroendocrine dysfunction

Agatha is currently working with Professor Sadaf Farooqi at the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge. Agatha uses a number of genetic approaches, including whole-exome sequencing, to identify novel genes involved in hypothalamic development in patients with severe early-onset obesity and neuroendocrine abnormalities. In this area, she is collaborating with Dr Inês Barroso's team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. She is also developing novel methodologies for studying hypothalamic function in human physiological studies.

Dr Stavros P Loukogeorgakis

University College London

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Prenatal stem cell gene therapy for Wilson's disease using amniotic fluid stem cells

Stavros will investigate the therapeutic potential of in utero stem cell gene transfer in inherited metabolic liver disease. He will use a model of Wilson's disease to test the hypothesis that correction of the genetic defect in autologous stem cells harvested from the amniotic fluid, followed by prenatal transplantation to the fetal liver, will cure the disease before birth. This novel approach may be useful for in utero therapy in a wide range of inherited disorders. Stavros will undertake his work at the Surgery Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London (Dr Paolo De Coppi), and the Centre for Fetal Research, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania (Dr Alan Flake).

Dr Daniel Marks

University College London

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

An investigation into the defective termination and resolution of acute inflammation in ulcerative colitis

Daniel will begin his Fellowship with Professor Tony Segal and Professor Derek Gilroy at University College London. He will investigate the mechanisms responsible for protracted inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis. His aims are to understand better the cause of this condition, and more broadly the impact of perturbed inflammation resolution processes on human disease. This work will be undertaken in collaboration with Professor Anna Nicolaou (University of Bradford) and Professor Allan Mowat (University of Glasgow).

Dr Lionel Tan

Imperial College London

Early Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

The contribution of the SIC to the pathogenesis of invasive group A streptococcal infections

Lionel will be studying the Streptococcal inhibitor of complement (SIC), a protein which is secreted by a highly virulent type of the human bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes. The aim is to understand the role of the SIC and its interactions with the host immune system in the development of invasive disease caused by the bacterium. He will be based in the laboratory of Professor Shiranee Sriskandan (Imperial College London) and will also spend time in Professor Lars Bjorck's laboratory at Lund University, Sweden.


Dr Rudolf Cardinal

University of Cambridge

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Developing models of thalamocortical unsupervised attentional selection and competitive learning

Rudolf is working in the Brain Mapping Unit in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, under Professor Ed Bullmore. His goal is to develop computational models of thalamocortical unsupervised attentional selection and competitive learning.

Dr Ben Fairfax

University of Oxford

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Identification and functional characterisation of genetic variation regulating tolerance to Toll-like receptor activation

Ben is investigating the genetic determinants of responses to innate immune stimuli with Dr Julian Knight at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. His studies have focused upon the genetics of gene expression in primary monocytes, B cells and natural killer cells in resting and stimulated states. This work has illustrated how disease-associated genetic polymorphisms may act as expression quantitative trait loci under specific inflammatory conditions. Ben is continuing his research as an NIHR ACL in Medical Oncology in Oxford, with a view to understanding how cancer alters innate immune expression profiles.

Dr Kerri Kinghorn

University College London

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Dissecting alpha-synuclein pathology in Drosophila models of Parkinson's disease: aids to understanding idiopathic Parkinson's disease

Kerri is working in the laboratories of Professor Dame Linda Partridge (Institute of Healthy Ageing) and Professor John Hardy (Institute of Neurology) at University College London. Her work seeks to further understand the pathogenesis of Lewy body pathology and Parkinson's disease by modelling disease-associated gene mutations in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Dr Jenny Papakrivopolou

University College London

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Planar cell polarity in glomerular development and disease

Jenny's research interest is in glomerular filtration barrier development during health and disease. During her Fellowship she will focus on podocytes: specialised epithelial cells of the filtration barrier, with a highly branched morphology acquired during development and necessary to prevent the loss of protein in the urine. She will examine the role of the planar cell polarity pathway in podocyte morphogenesis and in glomerular disease, as the ability to manipulate this pathway would have significant implications for the treatment of many proteinuric kidney diseases.

Dr Tim Raine

University of Cambridge

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Defining the impact of SNPs associated with inflammatory bowel disease on the immunobiology of human mucosal T lymphocytes

Tim is working with Professor Arthur Kaser and Dr Miles Parkes at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital, as well as with colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, to examine the functional impact of genetic variants associated with increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease on human gut mucosal T cell function. By working with T cells extracted from patient biopsy specimens, his project aims to improve our understanding of these important lymphocytes and better define their roles in health as well as in disease.

Dr Lance Turtle

University of Liverpool

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Human T lymphocyte responses in Japanese encephalitis

Lance is studying the T cell response to Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus, the most important cause of epidemic encephalitis in the world. Lance is currently based in Professor Tom Solomon's group, and, after a period of training, will move to Professor Paul Klenerman's lab (University of Oxford), where he will be applying cellular immunology techniques to understand the difference between healthy exposed individuals and patients who have suffered from clinical JE. The majority of this work is taking place at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in South India – a JE-endemic area. The work is aimed at understanding determinants of clinical recovery in JE and also the role of cross-reactive T cells in vaccine responses and immunity to flaviviruses.

Dr Michael Weekes

University of Cambridge

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Quantitative proteomic analysis of latent human cytomegalovirus infection

Mike's Fellowship is split between the laboratories of Professor Paul Lehner (University of Cambridge) and Professor Steven Gygi (Harvard Medical School). He has developed a novel proteomic technique to quantify the effect of viral infection on proteins at the plasma membrane. He is applying this and other proteomic technologies to study 'latent-phase' infection by human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). In order to develop novel therapeutics, Mike aims to determine which cell surface receptors are modulated by latent HCMV infection, and which intracellular signalling pathways are altered in latently infected cells.

Dr Joel Winston

University College London

Postdoctoral Training Fellowship for MB/PhD Graduates

Interoceptive awareness in health and disease

Joel will work in the laboratories of Professors Ray Dolan and Geraint Rees (University College London) and Jay Gottfried (Northwestern University, Chicago). He plans to explore the neuropsychological mechanisms underlying health perception, specifically focusing on the interactions between interoception (visceral sensory processing) and higher cognitive function. During the second half of his Fellowship he will continue his clinical training in neurology.