Institute of Immunity and Transplantation


Emma Morris

Director, UCL Division of Infection and Immunity
Professor of Clinical Cell & Gene Therapy

Research area

Cell and gene therapy, T cell immunology and allogenic stem cell transplantation for haematological malignancies and primary immune deficiencies.

Research programme

Research summary

My research group is interested in altering both the specificity and the function of gene-modified immune cells. These immune cells can then be used to treat cancer, infection or immune system disorders.

My research team investigates basic cellular and molecular mechanisms that influence how immune cells behave and how they recognise that cancer cells are different to normal cells, or why, in some cases, this does not occur. We are exploring ways to alter the genetic programming of these cells to improve their function and enhance their ability to kill cancer cells.

We also run a number of phase I ('first in human') clinical trials exploring the safety of these treatments in adult patients, where other treatments may have failed. These new approaches to cell therapy can be used in isolation or together with a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant procedure. We are particularly interested in TCR gene-modified T cells and genetically engineered stem cells.

I trained in Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge before specialising in Haemato-oncology and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. I am currently a Transplant Consultant at University College London Hospital NHS FT and the Royal Free London NHS FT. In receive research funding from the Bloodwise, MRC, CRUK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the Wellcome Trust.

I am director of the NIHR UCLH/UCL Biomedical Research Centre Inflammation, Immunity and Immunotherapeutics research programme and Co-Chair of the UCL Cell, Gene and Regenerative Medicine Therapeutic Innovation Network.

Patient involvement

I am Clinical Lead for the Primary Immune Deficiency Adult Stem Cell Transplant Programme at the Royal Free London NHS Trust, which is located within the Institute. Our clinical team cares for over 600 patients with PID, and we now have specific clinics to see patients referred for consideration of transplant.

We have many research studies taking place in the department, which we invite our patients to enrol for. These include projects to examine immune genes and immune cells that will give us more insight into the causes of PID and help us to design better diagnosis and treatment options. 

We also run clinical trials using gene and cell therapy approaches to treat immune disorders.


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