Institute of Immunity and Transplantation


Siobhan Burns

Professor of Translational Immunology

Research area

Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders.

Research programme

Research summary

Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders (PID) are inherited conditions where specific components of the immune system are missing or defective. This results in severe and frequent infections, often accompanied by autoimmunity and inflammation.

Our group is focused on understanding the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms that give rise to PID. We have a particular interest in how genetic mutations associated with PID impact the function of immune cells, particularly innate immune cells, such as neutrophils and dendritic cells.

We utilise a number of experimental approaches to examine immune cell function including human blood cells, cell line models of PID generated through targeted silencing of immune genes and murine models of PID.

Our work closely collaborates with national research aimed at identifying the genes that cause PID. We are developing deep phenotyping and functional assays to compliment genetic analysis and improve our ability to identify patients suitable for tailored therapies.

Patient involvement

I am Clinical Lead for the Immunology Department at the Royal Free London NHS Trust, which is located within  the Institute. Our clinical team cares for over 600 patients with PID, almost 300 of whom receive immunoglobulin  replacement therapy. For most, we do not yet know the underlying causes of their condition.

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 of immunoglobulin replacement  therapy to assist pharmaceutical companies with monitoring and improving immunoglobulin products.


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