Institute of Immunity and Transplantation


Victoria Male

Sir Henry Dale Fellow

Research area

Innate lympoid cell biology.

Research programme

Research summary

The natural killer (NK) cells that circulate in the blood are immune cells that defend the body against viruses and cancer. There are also organ-specific NK cells that differ from those in the blood and have special roles in their home organs. In the past, I have investigated the NK cells that are found in the human uterus and that help the placenta to invade into the lining of the uterus in the first trimester of pregnancy. My new research group at the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation focusses on NK cells in the liver.

Recently, a number of groups have identified liver-resident NK cells (which are sometimes considered to be helper ILC1) in mice. The first major paper to come out of my research group examined peripheral blood and intrahepatic NK cells from recipients of HLA-mismatched liver transplants to show that an equivalent, liver-resident NK cell is also present in humans. We further showed that the precursors of liver-resident NK cells can be recruited from the blood during adult life and defined conditions that can convert circulating NK cells to cells with a liver-resident phenotype. We are now working to define the function of these cells, both in humans and in mice, and how they may be involved in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.


Selected publications
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