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Nazish Malik

MSci (Hons)

DPhil Student

I am a DPhil student currently based at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, working under the supervision of Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo in the MRC Human Immunology Unit (HIU), in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Stevenage.  My research focuses on the complement system and its role in invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell function. Complement behaves as a key mediator of the general inflammatory response but also forms a functional bridge between the short-term innate and long-term adaptive immune responses. Although a vast breadth of knowledge exists on the role of complement signalling in both B and T lymphocytes (key cell types involved in the adaptive immune response), their role in iNKT cell responses is as yet undefined.  This project will attempt to determine if complement, in a manner similar to cytokines can trigger iNKT cell activation and whether this signalling can modulate effector function. I am currently attempting to identify and understand the surface and intracellular localisation of complement receptor sub-families, using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. This work will be followed by functional assays to understand if possible cross-talk mechanisms exist between complement and iNKT receptor engagement. Finally, I endeavour to translate this work in vivo in an attempt to determine if modulation of complement signalling may hold clinical relevance.

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