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Seminar: Dr Matthew Hepworth

15 April 2021, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

'Mucosal immune crosstalk with the commensal microbiota and diet'

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Dr Anne Pesenacker

Dr Matthew Hepworth (Division of Infection, Immunity & Respiratory Medicine, University of Manchester) will be speaking at the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation Seminar Series on Thursday 15 April.

All are welcome to attend. Please contact Fran Jackson (f.jackson@ucl.ac.uk) if you would like to join the seminar, or meet the speaker.

About the speaker

Chronic inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and asthma, constitute a significant global economic and public health burden. Epidemiologic, genetic and immunologic studies implicate dysregulated adaptive immune cell responses, driven by otherwise harmless environmental antigens, in the pathogenesis of these disorders. In order to maintain tissue health and homeostasis at mucosal barrier sites, such as the intestine and lungs, the adaptive immune system must be tightly regulated.

Dr Hepworth's research programme focuses on understanding the innate immune pathways that act to regulate inflammation at mucosal barrier tissue sites. Cells of the innate system play key roles in interpreting cues from the tissue microenvironment in order to educate the adaptive immune system. Recent reports in mice and humans have identified subsets of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) as key mediators of inflammation, immunity and tissue repair at mucosal barrier surfaces through the production of effector cytokines. Moreover, changes in the frequency and function of ILCs are associated with inflammatory disorders in humans, suggesting targeting of ILC pathways may be of clinical relevance. Recently, a growing body of evidence indicates ILCs also have novel antigen presenting roles, via the expression of MHCII, thus implicating ILCs as critical regulators of adaptive immune cell-driven inflammation and immunity.

The aims of Dr Hepworth's research are to delineate the mechanisms through which the innate immune system acts to maintain tissue homeostasis in healthy individuals using both basic and translational approaches. An improved understanding of these immune pathways will lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for chronic human inflammatory diseases in which tissue homeostasis is dysregulated, such as IBD and asthma.

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