Functional Genomics of Extreme Innate Immune Response
Inappropriate immune responses underpin various diseases and auto-inflammatory states including sepsis. Previous work by the group established there are differences in allele expression in human leukocyte cell types following different states of activation and it was hypothesised that extreme response phenotypes following monocyte activation are enriched for functional alleles. These include skewed allelic expression, variable frequency and often involve non coding variants.
Our current research goal is to define and characterise extreme innate immune response phenotypes which should resolve functional alleles, mechanisms of gene regulation and pathophysiology. Characterising individual extreme responders could contribute to better understanding patient specific responses to treatment and thus offer opportunities for personalised therapy. Furthermore, findings could provide insight into the critical mechanisms behind individual patient responses in sepsis including epigenetics and immune-metabolic adaption. Identifying key genes, networks and pathways for therapeutic intervention is particularly important given the high failure rate of drug trials, with genetic evidence enhancing predictions of drug efficacy.
I obtained my BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Bath. I completed my placement year at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the USA researching the role of ABC transporters in malignancies including Acute Myeloid Leukemia. For my undergraduate research project, I looked at expression and purification methods for proteins relevant in Parkinson’s disease. I recently joined the Knight group and I am excited to start my next chapter in the field of Genomics.