Judi Allen awarded £2million grant to study the role macrophages in nematode infection

Many congratulations to Prof Judi Allen in the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research on the award of a £2m grant from the Medical Research Council to study the role of macrophages in the host response to helminth infection!

Macrophages are recruited in large numbers to the site of helminth infection and yet their function in these settings is poorly understood. Using an infection model system with a human parasite, Brugia malayi, the Allen lab is able to generate large numbers of  Nematode-Elicited Macrophages (or NeMacs).  NeMacs can actively block the proliferation of a broad range of cell types, a phenotype that is characteristic of macrophages in many chronic inflammatory conditions.

The Allen lab is now working to elucidate the function of NeMacs in helminth infections by addressing the following questions.

  • Do macrophages contribute to helminth killing in primary and/or recall immune responses?
  • Are Mmacrophages instrumental in the induction and/or maintenance of the regulatory environment of chronic infection?
  • Do macrophages mediate repair of tissue damage caused by parasite migration?
  • Are macrophage functions during nematode infectionmediated through IL-4Ra signaling or are additional/distinct signals required?

More details about Judi's research are available on her website http://www.nematodes.org/allenlab/index.htm

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