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Supervisory Team: Dr. Natividad Garrido Mesa, Dr. Francesca Arrigoni (KU) and Dr. Jose Garrido Mesa (KCL)
The innate immune system can display characteristics of immunological memory, a process also known as "innate immune training" (IIT). This phenomenon is based on epigenetic rewiring and refers to the long-term functional reprogramming of innate immune cells after the encounter with infectious or non-infectious agents which influences their capacity to respond to a secondary stimulus. Helminths have evolved remarkable strategies to subvert host immunity and they are known to confer protective effects against aberrant inflammatory signalling, therefore they could be potent inducers of anti-inflammatory immune training. This study aims at investigating the anti-inflammatory IIT capacity and mechanisms of selected helminth products on human monocytes and macrophages in vitro.
Highly motivated to discover life processes from a molecular sight, I pursued an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science. During the last two years of my degree, I successfully secured two summer research internships, the first one in the group of Dr. Johnson (looking at the cross-talk between wnt and hippo signalling in the context of large tissue regeneration and cancer initiation in planaria), and the second one in the group of Dr. Lamber (where I used biochemical and structural biology approaches to investigate the Salmonella-SopD2 Effector in complex with Rab7).
Now I am conducting an MSc by Research where I evaluate the ability and mechanisms of several helminth products at inducing anti-inflammatory IIT. Therefore, this study will investigate the mechanisms induced by trained immunity, its role in disease pathogenesis and more importantly will establish if helminth-induced IIT can be exploited as a novel therapeutical opportunity to target inflammatory disorders.
Abu, L., Chipfuwamiti, C., Costea, A.M., Kelly, A.F., Major, K. and Mulrooney, H.M., 2021. Staff and student perspectives of online teaching and learning: implications for belonging and engagement at university: a qualitative exploration. Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, 14(3).
Adrian-Mihai Costea, Lija Abu, Nasra Hersi, Felicia Gunawan, Ellen Coakley, Simon Gould and Ahmed Elbediwy. Investigating barriers that prevent students attaining their full potential during their degree. Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2022- University College London (June 2022). Available here: https://ukstemconference.files.wordpress.com/2022/06/stem-horizons-conference-2022-abstracts.pdf.
Lija Abu, Craig Chipfuwamiti, Adrian Costea, Alison Kelly, Krisztina Major and Hilda Mulrooney. Exploring belonging in an online world: perspectives of staff and students. Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference 2022- The Open University (2021). Available here: https://www.open.ac.uk/scholarship-and-innovation/esteem/sites/www.open.ac.uk.scholarship-and-innovation.esteem/files/resources/Horizons-in-STEM-HE-Conference-Proceedings-2021-FINAL.pdf