Centre for Inflammation and Tissue Repair
Inflammation and Tissue Repair is part of the Division of Medicine
CITR comprises several research groups
Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology Group
Professor Chambers is Director of the Centre for Inflammation and Tissue Repair and is also Vice-Dean (Enterprise) for the UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences. Her research programme is focused on identifying the key cellular mechanisms and signalling pathways involved in driving lung injury, inflammation and fibrosis, with a particular emphasis on the role of the proteinase-activated receptors (PARs) and the TGF-β signalling axis. This research programme is based within the clinical settings of acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary fibrosis and airway remodelling and integrates fundamental studies in cell, tissue and disease model systems through to translational studies in humans. Professor Chambers’ group encompasses an active and dynamic mix of scientists, clinician scientists and PhD students and is supported by grants obtained from major funding agencies, including The Medical Research Council, The British Lung Foundation, The Wellcome Trust and The Rosetrees Trust.
Professor Chambers has a keen interest in Enterprise and also directs a discovery biology group at UCL as part of a major academic-industry alliance with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the area of fibrosis. The industry partnership lead for this programme is Dr Paul Mercer, a senior Research Associate with extensive expertise in novel drug target identification and validation. Professor Chambers has also recently established a small research team in order to prosecute novel targets in the context of neutrophilic inflammation at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC). The SBC innovation lead for this initiative is Dr Andrew Williams, who has a longstanding track-record in lung inflammation and immunology.
Respiratory Infection Group
Professor Brown leads a research group investigating the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae lung infections and characterising novel vaccines for prevention of S. pneumoniae infections. Present research focuses on the mechanisms causing inflammatory responses to S. pneumoniae and their consequences during disease development, identifying the mechanisms of natural immunity to S. pneumoniae pneumonia, and investigating potential vaccine candidates. Pivotal previous findings include the identification of several bacterial lipoproteins vital for S. pneumoniae disease development, the discovery of protein antigen vaccine candidates effective at preventing serious S. pneumoniae infections, and the demonstration of the roles of the complement pathway for innate immunity to S. pneumoniae. The group is presently funded by the MRC, Wellcome Trust, and BBSRC. In addition, Professor Brown is developing a translational research programme with Dr Hurst into bronchiectasis.
Professor McAnulty's research group focusses on investigating the pathogenesis of diseases in which inflammation and aberrant deposition of extracellular matrix proteins are key features. Diseases of particular interest include pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and mesothelioma. We encompass a wide spectrum of research, from fundamental basic studies through to translational research utilising our expanding banks of tissue and cells. A major emphasis of the groups’ research is to characterise the mechanisms regulating fibroblast differentiation and function and in particular the role and interactions between stimulatory and inhibitory mediators (e.g. transforming growth factor beta isoforms, prostaglandin E2 and clusterin) in regulating the response to tissue injury, repair and connective tissue disease. We also have a major interest in understanding the role of epigenetics in regulating fibroblast phenotype and in fibroproliferative disease.
COPD and Bronchiectasis
Dr Hurst's group address clinically-relevant research questions in COPD and bronchiectasis using translational methodology ranging from interventional drug trials via experimental clinical investigation to laboratory science. Our focus is on exacerbations of these common airway diseases, and cardiovascular co-morbidity. Reflecting key collaborations across UCL and more widely, the interest and current studies of the group extend to alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, novel lung imaging techniques, the adult consequences of premature lung disease, and respiratory manifestations of primary immunodeficiency. Please get in touch if you would like to know more about our work.
Leukocyte Trafficking Group
Dr Porter's laboratory investigates platelet and leukocyte interactions in chronic lung disease with particular emphasis on the removal of these inflammatory cells during the resolution of inflammation. It is hoped that an understanding of these mechanisms may lead to translational benefits in diseases as diverse as asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and infection, that are characterised by inappropriate, excessive or insufficient leukocyte influx. Her group also has an interest in the regulation of epithelial integrity and polarity, which may have enormous implications in the fields of lung cancer, lung morphogenesis and repair of the damaged lung. Of particular interest is the link between chronic inflammation and lung cancer which although well recognised is not well understood. Clinically, Dr Porter heads the Centre for Interstitial Lung Disease at UCLH and is involved in several clinical translational studies in patients with pulmonary fibrosis, both idiopathic and in the context of underlying rheumatological disease.