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Division of Infection and Immunity

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Dr Dimitra Peppa

Associate Professor in HIV immunology/ Honorary Consultant HIV Medicine

About

Research in the Peppa lab focuses on viral immunology, NK cell biology and chronic inflammation.

Research summary

The Peppa lab has an interest in chronic viral diseases (HBV, HIV) and emerging viral infections (SARS-CoV-2) of global health significance. People living with HIV and chronic viral hepatitis suffer detrimental health care outcomes associated with immune dysfunction, ongoing inflammation, accelerated ageing and increased vulnerability to emerging infections.

Our aim is to increase our understanding of the role of key immune cell components, that can be harnessed to improve the lives of our patients.

We focus on NK cell immunology, studying their role in the context of viral infections and within distinct anatomical compartments. Through the use of cutting-edge technologies and well curated cohorts of patient samples we systematically examine immune pathways that are preserved or dysregulated during health and viral disease. This represents a critical first step in the identification of new molecular targets for therapies that could aid clinical monitoring, enable stratification of patients for targeted interventions and facilitate the development of NK cell based therapeutics.

Previous contributions include demonstration of the antiviral and rheostat roles of liver-resident and adaptive subsets of NK cells in chronic HBV and HIV infection. This work has provided compelling rationale to optimise approaches to i) elicit broadly neutralising antibodies in HIV during vaccination ii) determine the role of viral infections impacting the development of unique adaptive/memory NK cell subsets especially within tissues and iii) harness and re-direct NK cells with memory characteristics to overcome the current barriers to eliciting effective immunity to viral infections.

A further aim of our lab is to dissect the network of drivers of inflammation and immune dysfunction associated with premature ageing and multi-morbidity in people living with HIV.

Selected publications