- Drakesmith Group: Iron and Immunity Research Group
My research within the lab of Hal Drakesmith asks how iron availability impacts upon adaptive immunity. Genetic defects in immune cell iron uptake have been found to cause a human immunodeficiency syndrome, demonstrating the adaptive immune system's need for iron. We hypothesise that iron may become limiting for lymphocytes under conditions of physiological iron deficiency, resulting in an impaired adaptive immune response. Iron deficiency is the most prevalent micronutrient deficiency worldwide; understanding the nutritional requirements of immune responses might help us better implement vaccine regimes. I use a number of models to examine how iron restriction affects the development and effector function of lymphocytes.
I am based at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, within the MRC Human Immunology Unit (MRC HIU), and benefit from access to a number of core facilities: most significantly, the flow cytometry facility is of great importance to my work. I graduated with a 1st Class BA in Natural Sciences (Genetics) from the University of Cambridge in 2015. During my undergraduate degree I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to undertake short projects with Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith, Professor Jim Kaufman and Dr James Ajioka.
My DPhil is jointly funded by the RDM Scholars Programme and the Christopher Welch Scholarship in Biological Sciences.