Division of Infection and Immunity


Robotics, free speech, health conditions and taxes explored by 2021 Future Leaders researchers

8 September 2021

Division researcher, Dr Laura Pallett, was one of seven UCL academics awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships to accelerate their contribution to world-changing research and innovation.

2021 UCL Future Leader Fellows

They are among 97 of the most promising scientists and researchers in the UK identified for government funding this year to help them develop their ideas from the lab and lecture theatre to the market, creating workable solutions to major global problems.

Dr Laura Pallett will be leading research to help patients with liver disease:

“Since 2018, liver fibrosis and associated liver disease has been the leading cause of premature death in people aged 35-49. With limited treatment options, we need to understand urgently how the local immune response contributes to fibrosis initiation and development. My primary goal with this prestigious Fellowship is to investigate how a specialised population of immune cells known as liver-resident T cells ‘talk’ to neighbouring cells and where this ‘conversation’ goes wrong, in the hope of uncovering new targeted therapies to halt liver disease.

Each Fellowship lasts four to seven years with awardees receiving between £400,000 and £1.5 million over an initial four years. This enables researchers at universities and in business to progress their studies quickly by funding essential equipment and wages.

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said:

“I am delighted that UKRI is able to support the next generation of research and innovation leaders through our Future Leaders Fellowship programme. The new Fellows announced today will have the support and freedom they need to pursue their research and innovation ideas, delivering new knowledge and understanding and tackling some of the greatest challenges of our time.”

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), said:

“My warmest congratulations to our seven successful applicants. This is a great achievement that recognises their excellent work so far, and their potential as the research leaders of tomorrow. Recruiting and retaining the best academic talent is integral to UCL’s commitment to research excellence, and the diverse topics chosen by our new Future Leaders – from tax to mental illness, and robots to free speech – reflect the many ways our wider research community apply academic insights to a range of social challenges.”



  • Clockwise from top left: Dr Jeffrey Howard (credit Stephen Heywood), Dr Laura Pallett, Dr Dimitrios Kanoulas (credit: Wansoo Kim), Dr Joseph Hayes (credit: Juli Health), Philip Pearce (credit: Dennis Porche), Dr Miranda Sheild Johansson (credit: Thomas MacGregor), Dr Michael Bloomfield.

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