My research is focused on two key ares of human immunology. The first is investigating the driving causes of self-reactive immune responses in autoimmune diseases, particularly inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in order to develop novel therapeutic approaches. One potential cell therapy I am pursuing for IBD is using an expanded population of regulatory T cells that secretes the immunosuppressive molecule IL-10, resulting in suppression of both innate and adaptive immune responses. Another approach is using a parasite-derived molecule that mimics the effects of the human cytokine TGFbeta and is a potent inducer of regulatory T cells that could be used as a cell therapy.
The second area of my research focuses on characterising the helper CD4+ T cell memory response towards Clostridium difficile, a bacterial species that is the leading cause of hospital-acquired infectious diarrhoea. We are currently validating a unique immune assay for the ability to predict patient outcome, thus guiding early treatment decisions to reduce disease severity.