Personal profile

My research in a nutshell

Our lab is interested in the interplay between the immune system and the cardiovascular system and thrive to discover key immune pathways involved in maintaining metabolic and cardiovascular health. We aim to understand how dysregulation of immune pathways associated with obesity, age or disease leads to increased risk of infection and cardiovascular diseases. We ultimately want to identify new immune therapeutic targets to boost immune defence and treat cardiovascular diseases.

Obesity, loss of B1 cells and susceptibility to infection: Obesity rates are increasing all over the world. Obesity is affecting nearly 30% of adults in the UK. The effect of obesity on increasing risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer is well recognised. Obesity also affects the immune system leading to increase susceptibility to infections. This has become dramatically apparent with COVID-19; obesity is one of the main risk factors of hospitalisation and death with COVID-19. Obesity also increases the risk of pneumonia and post-operative infections, raising important clinical challenges in hospitals. One of our main interests is to understand how obesity affects B1 cells, a type of B cells producing antibodies, called natural antibodies, providing an important frontline protection against infection. We aim to identify mechanisms leading to loss of B1 cells in human during obesity and identify targets boosting their function to restore resistance to infection in obese patients (MRC funded project).  

Maintaining tissue homeostasis:

  • Natural antibodies play an additional critical homeostatic function by removing dead cells, cellular debris, and oxidised lipoprotein particles. There are important to limit insulin resistance, atherosclerosis and thrombosis. We aim to understand the mechanism driving the production of natural antibodies in human, how these are impacted by age and disease status and to identify pathways restoring natural antibody levels and homeostatic function to treat insulin resistance in obesity, atherosclerosis and thrombosis.
  • Resident macrophages in adipose tissue are involved in a myriad of regulatory function. We aim to understand how they synchronise adipocyte and vascular function with feeding and how they control lipid distribution in the body.

Repairing the heart post-myocardial infarction: After a heart attack, the body mounts a response to clear dying tissue and repair the damage to the heart. The heart is enveloped by a protective sac called the pericardium, which contains a high number of B1 cells. These B1 cells protects the heart after a heart attack increasing its repair and preserving heart function. We aim to understand the mechanism underlying the protective function of pericardial B1 cells in human post-myocardial infarction and identify new pathways to boost their protective function to treat heart attack (MRC funded project).


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