My research is focussed on understanding the basis of immunity to infectious challenge and includes studies of immune mechanisms that operate in different vertebrate species (particularly birds and mammals). I have a special interest in the mechanisms of immunity in the gut and how different subsets of T lymphocytes contribute to protective immunity. Many responses are stimulated during infection but it is clear that only a subset of the response is involved in protective immunity. A central theme of the work of my group is directed towards defining which of the induced responses and cellular interactions are effective in pathogen control.
Current projects include the comparative biology of pattern recognition receptors, TCRαβ and TCRγδ T cell biology, parasite genetics as a tool to define protective antigen-encoding loci and the mechanisms of immunity against infection. Currently our focus is on immunity to parasitic protozoa (e.g. Eimeria spp) and bacterial (e.g. Salmonella enterica) pathogens. The knowledge gained in these studies contributes to our understanding of the basic biology of immune systems, provides an integrated view of host-pathogen interactions and contributes towards development of effective immune interventions (e.g. vaccines).
In 2007 my colleagues and I received the Daiwa Foundation Lord Adrian Prize for our studies on enteric T cell function (with Dr Kyoko Inagaki-Ohara and Prof Goro Matsuzaki). I also hold Jenner Investigator status in recognition of contributions to vaccine development.