Professor Cerundolo was Director of the MRC Human Immunology Unit at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Head of Department of Investigative Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, and Fellow of Merton College. His work focused on understanding mechanisms of processing and presentation of lipid and peptide antigens to T cells. There were many seminal findings, including work with Alain Townsend FRS and colleagues, in which it was found that genes in the MHC region encode transporter proteins which translocate peptides for eventual presentation by MHC class I; and in subsequent studies, Enzo went on to lead a study describing a clinical syndrome associated with defective peptide transport. More recently, Enzo helped define the structural and functional basis for the T cell recognition of lipids bound to CD1 molecules, with consequent enhancement of antibody and peptide-specific T cell responses. The collective findings have broad relevance across immunology, including for mechanisms of inflammation, immuno-oncology and vaccination, with key discoveries being taken forward to clinical trials.
Enzo, as he was known among friends and colleagues, was well known and loved for his warm, open and encouraging approach which benefitted so many students, staff, and collaborators across the world. Many of his previous team members have gone on to lead teams of their own, which was a source of enormous pride.
Prof Cerundolo worked tirelessly and passionately for the benefit of the MRC Human Immunology Unit and built on the work of Andrew McMichael FRS to create a strong collaborative environment with a positive and inclusive culture which has directly contributed to its success. He brought together people from different disciplines and took enjoyment in seeing investigators thrive in such a warm environment. Enzo was held with great affection by those fortunate enough to work with him. He leaves a loving wife and two children, of whom he was very proud. Enzo was particularly happy to have been able to enjoy seeing his daughter marry in 2019 and for his son to have a successful start to university life. He will be greatly missed.