Edinburgh Research Explorer

Anne Astier

(Former employee or visitor)

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Universite Paris VI, Pierre et Marie Curie
Etude du mode de production des RFcgamma solubles humains de basse affinité de type II (RFcgammaIIa). Caractérisation biochimique et fonctionnelle


After graduating from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI), I performed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, in the laboratory of Professor Arnold Freedman on integrin functions in human B cells. In 1998, I obtained an academic tenure faculty position at the ‘National Center for Scientific Research" (CNRS) in France where I developed the project on the role of CD46 in T cell activation at the INSERM Unit directed by Chantal Rabourdin-Combe. I took a leave of absence from CNRS in 2001 to return to the States. I worked on integrins for 2 more years before going back to T cells and CD46 in the context of autoimmunity with Professor David Hafler, where I became a faculty member at Harvard Medical School as an instructor in Neurology in 2004. I joined the University of Edinburgh in 2007 and got a grant from the MS society.


PhD in Immunology



Research websites:



Current Research Interests

My group investigates the regulation of human T cell activation. This major research interest started when I designed a project to determine the role of the complement receptor CD46 in the adaptive immune response, after being recruited to the CNRS in France. We were the first to describe the role of CD46 in the control of T cell responses (Astier JI 2000, Zaffran JI, 2001, Marie Nat Immunol 2002). Back to Harvard, we were the first to demonstrate that the CD46 pathway was defective in T cells from patients with autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis – MS, Astier, JCI, 2006). Now in Edinburgh, we focus on determining the molecular mechanisms involved in T cell activation and on analyzing these in MS and other chronic inflammatory diseases. The identification of the mechanisms responsible for the defective pathways in MS and other chronic inflammatory diseases may provide useful novel drug targets for these diseases.

Collaborative Activity

  • Past: Prof. Maggie So and Dr. Nathan Weyand, University of Arizona (PLosOne 2011); Prof. David Hafler, Yale Medical School (JI 2012); Dr. Joelle Thomas, University of Lyon (PLoSOne 2011); Prof. Henry Jabbour, Edinburgh (JI 2012);

  • Ongoing: Dr. Anna Williams, Centre for MS research, University of Edinburgh (PLoSOne 2012); Prof. Andre Lieber (U. of Washington, Seattle – targeting the CD46 pathway using Ad35 proteins – Immunology 2014); Dr. Jean Fletcher (Trinity College, role of VitD in MS); Prof Sarah Howie and Dr Richard Weller, Edinburgh (Immune response in atopic dermatitis); Dr. Francisca Mutapi, SBS, Edinburgh (analysis of the immune response of helminth infected children).

Research students

  • Ongoing supervision of Joanne Hay, MRC PhD student, started Sep 2013 (with Ian Dransfield, Sarah Howie)

  • Supervision of Cunjing Yu, PhD student started Sep 2012 (co-supervision with Sarah Howie, Richard Weller, viva on April 2016, now working for company in China)

  • Supervision of Siobhan Ni Choileain, PhD student – Sept 2009-Dec 2012 Edinburgh (Viva in Dec 2012, now postdoc at Yale) “Processing of CD46 regulates its expression and T cell responses” (funded by MS society PhD studentship)


Undergraduate teaching: 

  • Tutorial for the Clinical Immunology and Haematology module course (since 2011)

  • Tutorial for 2d year medical students (since 2012)

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