- Professor Robin Callard
- Professor Tessa Crompton
- Professor David Goldblatt
- Professor John Harper
- Dr Wei-Li Di
- Dr Ryan O'Shaughnessy
- Dr Masahiro Ono
- Dr Anna Furmanski
Robin Callard is Professor of Immunobiology at the Institute of Child Health, University College London. He is also on the management board and chairman of the exam board for CoMPLEX at UCL where he set up the interdisciplinary four year MRes/PhD programme with Jaroslav Stark in 1999.
Current Research interests:
1. Immunogenetics of atopic dermatitis and immunobiology of the skin.
2. Mathematical modelling of cytokine interactions, T cell proliferation and differentiation.
3. Mathematical modelling of T cell homeostasis and immune reconstitution in HIV infected children on antiretroviral therapy and following bone marrow transplantation.
4. High throughput sequencing of T cell receptor α/β and γ/δ chains with mathematical models to estimate and compare clonal diversity following immune reconstitution.
Tessa Crompton is GOSHCC Professor of Experimental Immunology at the UCL Institute of Child Health. She completed her PhD at UCL in 1990, and after post-doctoral training in Lausanne, Marseille and London, set up her own laboratory at Imperial College London in 1998. In 2007 she moved her lab to ICH, where her group focuses on the following research interests:
1. Positive and negative regulation of differentiation of thymocyte progenitor cells by the Hedgehog signalling pathway.
2. Mathematical modelling of the transcriptional response of thymocytes to pre-TCR and Shh signalling.
3. The influence of Hedgehog proteins secreted by the thymic epithelium on T-cell receptor repertoire selection.
4. The regulation of peripheral T-cell activation, differentiation and function by morphogen signalling and IFITM molecules.
5. Interactions between human thymic epithelium and developing thymocytes. This project aims to refine the technology for thymic epithelium transplant in the treatment of DiGeorge syndrome.
6. The influence of Hedgehog signalling on erythrocyte lineage-commitment and differentiation.
Professor David Goldblatt is Professor of Vaccinology and Immunology and Head of the Immunobiology Unit at the Institute of Child Health, University College London as well as a Consultant Paediatric Immunologist at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust. He is the Director of Clinical Research and Development for the joint Institution and also Director of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre. Between 2009 and 2012 he served as the first Director of the UCL Partners Academic Health Science Centre Child Health Theme. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, his Paediatric qualifications from the Royal College of Physicians (London) and a PhD in Immunology from the University of London, United Kingdom.
He has a long-standing interest in the immune response to vaccines and infectious diseases in childhood and has an active research programme studying bacterial conjugate vaccines, the kinetics of immunological memory and immunity and infections in early life. He is involved in clinical trials and basic science research projects in the United Kingdom, Africa and SE Asia and collaborates with colleagues in Europe and the USA. He is a regular advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on bacterial conjugate vaccines and is Director of the WHO Reference Laboratory for Pneumococcal Serology based at the UCL Institute of Child Health in London. He served as a member of the United Kingdom Department of Health Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation for 10 years (1997-2007), currently contributes to 2 JCVI subcommittees and has served as a member of both MRC and Wellcome Trust funding panels. He is currently a member of the Wellcome Trust’s “Immune System in Health and Disease” Expert Review Group.
Professor John Harper is Professor of Paediatric Dermatology at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust and University College London (Institute of Child Health), London.
He trained at St Mary’s Hospital, University of London, qualifying in 1973, and did his postgraduate MD thesis on skin manifestations of graft versus host disease in children receiving a bone marrow transplant.
He is the founder Secretary of the British Society for Paediatric Dermatology and was Chairman of the BSPD from 1988 to1991. He was President of the European Society for Pediatric Dermatology from 1993 to1996.
Professor John Harper is the Senior Editor of the Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology which is internationally recognised as the gold standard text for the specialty. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers on a wide range of topics in paediatric dermatology.
Main research interests are focused on the genetics and immunopathogenesis of atopic dermatitis / eczema and the development of new treatments for eczema.
His special clinical interests are: children with: vascular anomalies; difficult eczema; psoriasis; genetic disorders of the skin, in particular the neurocutaneous syndromes and the inherited ichthyoses; growth dysregulation as in Proteus syndrome; skin conditions associated with immunodeficiency, including graft versus host disease, developmental abnormalities (birthmarks) of the skin and neonatal skin disorders.
Dr Wei-Li Di is a Non-Clinical Lecturer in Skin Biology appointed in 2004. Her research interest has focused on skin diseases with impaired skin barrier function, in particular Netherton syndrome and atopic dermatitis, with a special interest in the gene SPINK5.
Three major research projects led by Dr Di are: (1) finding the specific targets of the SPINK5 encoding protein LEKTI in the skin; (2) the mechanism of action of LEKTI and its down-stream molecules, mainly being kallikreins / protease activated receptors and (3) gene therapy for Netherton syndrome.
These projects have been undertaken by two Post-doctoral Research Fellows, two PhD students and Medical Research students, supported by funding from the National Eczema Society, an ICH PumpPriming grant, Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, British Skin Foundation and the Ichythosis Support Group.
Dr Di, together with Dr Waseem Qasim and Prof Andrian Thrasher at the Wolfson Centre for Gene Therapy of Childhood Disease, in collaboration with a leading European group in Spain, has initiated a project on gene therapy for Netherton syndrome. The work is progressing well and results have shown that genetically modified skin cells obtained from Netherton syndrome patients are sufficiently robust to correct the architecture of Netherton syndrome epidermis in an in vivo skin model (WL Di et al. 2010 Molecular Therapy, in press). Currently, the team are developing translational strategies for gene therapy for Netherton syndrome and if successful, phase I clinical trials of gene based therapy for this skin disease will be initiated.
Dr Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s team investigates the mechanisms of epidermal barrier establishment during embryonic development and how these mechanisms are altered in diseases of epidermal barrier function, with particular emphasis on eczema (atopic dermatitis) and the rare autosomal recessive disease lamellar ichthyosis.
His interest is in the multiple roles of the AKT kinase in the establishment and strengthening of the skin barrier, and he has shown that AKT activity in the epidermis induces a phosphatase activity that mediates skin barrier acquisition [O’Shaughnessy et al., Development. 2009;136(20): 3423-31.]. Work is ongoing to elucidate the function of this phosphatase in the formation of the epidermal barrier.
Dr O’Shaughnessy has previously discovered that AKT1 is critical in creating a strong cornified envelope, the principle component of the epidermal barrier. AKT1 mediates an interaction between filaggrin and HSP27, allowing proper processing of filaggrin, recognised to be very important in the pathogenesis of eczema. Dr O’Shaughnessy was awarded a British Skin Foundation PhD Studentship to study the role of AKT1 and HSP27 in filaggrin processing and epidermal barrier function in eczema.
Dr O’Shaughnessy also works on creating in vitro skin-equivalent models of the disease lamellar ichthyosis by siRNA knockdown of genes mutated in the disease (Transglutaminase-1 and Alox12B) in order to test new potential therapies and to understand molecular mechanisms that lead to the fish scale-like skin characteristic of the disease. He recently showed that IL1A mediates the scaling seen in patients with lamellar ichthyosis, and that blocking IL1A function can prevent hyperkeratosis (scaling) [Hum Mol Genet. 2010;19(13): 2594-605.]. A second PhD student, funded by grants from the British Skin Foundation and the Ichthyosis support group, is investigating molecular mechanisms important in causing hyperkeratosis in lamellar ichthyosis.
Collaborators include Professor Carolyn Byrne, Barts and the London, Dr Catherine O’Neill, Manchester University.
Masahiro Ono is a molecular/ systems immunologist. Main research interests include T cell differentiation, transcription factor-mediated gene regulation in T cells (Foxp3, Runx1), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signalling in T cells, organ-specific autoimmune disease, and immune regulation in atopic dermatitis. His research approach includes: molecular and in vivo immunology, biochemistry and molecular biology, genomics, multidimensional data analysis, systems biology using mathematical modelling. With these techniques he aims to reveal the fundamental mechanisms in the immune system at molecular and systems levels.
Masahiro Ono completed his MD and PhD at Kyoto Univ in 1999 and 2006, respectively. After dermatology residency and post-doctoral training in Kyoto University, he was appointed as an assistant professor in Kyoto Univ and Osaka Univ. He was awarded a HFSP long-term fellowship in 2009 and moved to UCL. Recently, he was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips fellowship, and set up his laboratory at ICH.
Personal homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/masahironohome/
Anna Furmanski completed her PhD on T-cell repertoire selection in 2006, supervised by Prof Julian Dyson at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London. She then undertook postdoctoral training with Prof Tessa Crompton at Imperial and UCL, focussing her research on the regulation of thymocyte development and T-cell differentiation by morphogens. During her time at ICH, in collaboration with her mentor Prof Crompton and GOSH Consultant Immunologist Dr Graham Davies, Dr Furmanski has received NIHR GOSH/ICH Biomedical Research Centre funding and a Royal Society Research Grant to work on projects aimed at improving the outcome of thymus grafting and thymus transplantation-induced autoimmunity.
Dr Furmanski was recently awarded a Senior Postdoctoral Development Fellowship by Asthma UK to develop an independent theme of research, expanding her work on Hedgehog signalling in modulating immune responses in asthma and allergic disease.
Fellowship webpage: http://www.asthma.org.uk/research-fellowships-dr-anna-furmanski
Page last modified on 26 sep 13 14:21