UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
30 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1EH


Our mission is to undertake research into the cellular, molecular, genetic and clinical aspects of paediatric immunology and thereby establish an international reputation in the general field of immunobiology.

Protection against infectious disease requires complex and coordinated interactions between the various components of specific (adaptive) immunity, innate immunity and the inflammatory response. The research carried out in the Immunobiology Section is directed towards understanding the complex cellular and molecular interactions between these components of the immune system.

The Section also has close associations with the Department of Clinical Immunology and the Department of Dermatology at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

Research groups

Dermatology Research Group

Professor John Harper heads a group focusing on various aspects of skin biology. The group works in close collaboration with Prof Robin Callard (Immunology and Mathematical Modelling) and Dr Kevin Mills (Biochemistry/Proteomics). The group has also had a long standing collaboration with Profs William Cookson and Miriam Moffatt, at the Royal Brompton Campus, Imperial College London, working on the molecular genetics of atopic dermatitis.

Dr Wei Li Di is Lecturer in Skin Biology at ICH and her expertise is in skin culture techniques and immunohistochemistry. Her main research theme is on Netherton syndrome and atopic dermatitis. Her most recent work is in collaboration with Prof Adrian Thrasher and Dr Waseem Qasim (Molecular Immunology), on the potential of gene therapy for the treatment of Netherton syndrome.

Dr Ryan O'Shaughnessy is a Senior Research Associate in Skin Biology at ICH. His research is on 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.


  • Professor John Harper
  • Dr Wei-Li Di
  • Dr Ryan O'Shaughnessy
  • Mr Ahmad Alzahrani
  • Mr Irbaz Badshah
  • Ms Sakinah Hassan
  • Mr Ming Yang Lee
  • Mr Syed Sameer
  • Miss Hephzi Tagoe
  • Miss Cristina Tommasi 

Lymphocyte and Erythrocyte Development and Function Research Group

Professor Tessa Crompton's group studies the regulation of lymphocyte and erythrocyte differentiation and function by the cell's environment.  They focus on the role of morphogen signalling in the determination of T-lineage cell fate.  The specialized environment of the thymus is essential for efficient production of functional non-self reactive T cells. They aim to understand the way in which signals from the thymic epithelium direct the differentiation of developing T lineage cells, and likewise to understand how microenvironmental factors such as morphogen signalling influence the outcome of T-cell receptor (TCR)-ligation in mature peripheral T-cell function and differentiation.  In addition, they investigate the influence of Hedgehog signalling on erythrocyte lineage commitment and differentiation in the bone marrow during normal haematopoiesis and in the spleen during stress-induced erythropoiesis.  Current projects include: (1) To define the target genes and molecular mechanisms that underlay the positive and negative regulation of early thymocyte development by Hedgehog proteins secreted by thymic epithelial cells (TEC) and CD4+CD8+double positive (DP) thymocytes; (2) To investigate the function of Sonic Hedgehog and Desert Hedgehog secretion by TEC and establishment of the Hedgehog gradient, in shaping TCR repertoire selection, and in regulating differentiation from DP to mature single positive thymocyte; (3) To investigate the function of the Hedgehog protein family, IFITM protein family, and FoxA family of transcription factors on TCR signalling, T-cell activation and T-helper differentiation and function and T-B collaboration; (4) To assess the benefits of MHC-matching in TEC transplantation for DiGeorge syndrome, and improve the methodology for thymus transplantation, in collaboration with Graham Davies, GOSH; (5) To investigate the impact of thymectomy on immune dysregulation in cardiac transplant patients, in collaboration with Mike Burch and Graham Davies, GOSH; (6) To investigate the molecular regulation of erythropoiesis by Desert Hedgehog and Gli3. 

Dr Anna Furmanski’s work has focused on investigating the signals that instruct T-cells, either during their development in the thymus, or in peripheral tissues during T-helper cell differentiation.  In 2013 Anna was awarded a Senior Postdoctoral Development Fellowship by Asthma UK to develop an independent theme of research, expanding her work on the modulation of immune responses by Hedgehog signalling in asthma and allergic disease.


  • Professor Tessa Crompton
  • Dr Anna Furmanski
  • Dr Ching in Lau
  • Ms Jiawei Li
  • Ms Eleftheria Papaioannou
  • Dr Sue Ross
  • Dr José Ignacio Saldaña
  • Ms Anisha Solanki
  • Dr Diana Yanez

Vaccinology Research Group

Professor David Goldblatt’s group focuses on the immunology of responses to vaccines and natural infections. The core serology laboratory that he established was designated the World Health Organisation (WHO) Pneumococcal Serology Reference Laboratory in 2002, one of only two such laboratories in the world. The laboratory now runs both ELISA and OPA platforms for assessing pneumococcal immunity, trains researchers from all over the world and supports laboratories attempting to set up and run pneumococcal assays. The serology laboratory operates according to the standard designated Good Laboratory Clinical Practice and thus the data generated in the laboratory from vaccine trials can be used by vaccine manufacturers to support licensure of vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration and European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA). The laboratory forms a key part of the National Vaccine Evaluation Consortium which is funded by the UK Department of Health to perform vaccine studies and trials relevant to vaccine policy in the UK. The laboratory has played an integral role in the evaluation of Hib conjugate, Meningococcal C conjugate and pneumococcal vaccines in both children and adults that have directly contributed to the introduction of vaccines in the United Kingdom. This fruitful collaboration with Professor Elizabeth Miller and her team at Public Health England continues. The groups work on vaccines and infectious disease involves collaborations with both academics and industry including the Wellcome Trust overseas units in SE Asia (Thailand and Cambodia) and Kenya (KEMRI, Kilifi), the MRC unit in The Gambia, AMP in Burkina Fasso and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore with a focus on American Indian Health, Industrial and NGO Partners include PATH, Pfizer, Glycovaxin, Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis and Merck.


  • Professor David Goldblatt
  • Ms Polly Burbidge
  • Ms Suzanne Byrne
  • Mr Kier Finnegan
  • Ms Nicola Green
  • Mrs Sarah Heffernan
  • Mr Adam Hunt
  • Dr Marina Johnson
  • Dr Scott Jones
  • Miss Tessa Jones
  • Mr Aroudra Outtandy
  • Mrs Emma Pearce
  • Ms Hayley Richardson
  • Mrs Lucy Roalfe
  • Mr Vasili Thalasselis
  • Ms Rebecca White

Page last modified on 05 jan 17 10:53