BA, MA, MBBChir, FHEA
Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellow
My research spans the disciplines of Immunology, Cancer Biology and Metabolism. I specifically focus on amino acid metabolism as an immune escape strategy in cancer and as a way to regulate the immune system. It is well recognised now that T-cells can recognise tumour cells and mount a response against them. Tumours employ various strategies to avoid this attack, one of which is the generation of nutritional stress in the tumour microenvironment to starve T-cells of essential nutrients and render them inactive. I am particularly interested in the amino acid arginine whose absence has powerful detrimental effects on immune cells. Through a range of methods and techniques including cloning, qPCR, western blotting, flow cytometry, proliferation assays, metabolic assays, ChIP-seq, ChIP-qPCR, mass spectrometry, imaging, confocal microscopy and bioinformatics I hope to understand the adaptation mechanisms that allow malignant cells and cancer-associated stromal cells to thrive in the immunosuppressive microenvironvironment that they create. This will not only help us in identifying weaknesses of tumours and use them as part of cancer therapies but it will also allow us to tackle the issue of resistance and failure of novel cancer immunotherapies. Furthermore, understanding the way the immune system is regulated by amino acids and other metabolites will create opportunities to identify therapeutic targets for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. I hold a BA in Immunology and Pathology from the University of Cambridge where I also qualified in medicine with a distinction and multiple academic prizes (MD). I spent time at Stanford University as a Wellcome Trust research scholar in immunology before taking up a competitive academic foundation clinical post in London (St George's University Hospital). Following that, I was awarded a prestigious and highly competitive Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship to carry out my DPhil at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof Vincenzo Cerundolo and Prof Paresh Vyas. I hope to pursue an academic career where I can combine my clinical interest in the gastrointestinal system with my passion for understanding the interaction between the immune system and cancer and the genetic & epigenetic effects of GI metabolism on this interaction. As a keen teacher I have lectured medical students at Cambridge, Oxford and London and have been awarded Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.