We translate cutting-edge research in immunology into clinical innovation.
We focus on five research themes, to deliver medical advances that make real impact.
- infectious disease and pandemics
- immune-mediated inflammatory diseases
- data and artificial intelligence
Every two minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer and more than 160,000 people die each year from cancer in the UK.
Cancer immunotherapy is one of the most significant recent scientific breakthroughs in medicine following the discovery that T cells can be harnessed to protect from tumour development and disease progression. Our immunology and immunotherapy research is focused on defining optimal T-cell specificities and functions and using this information to inform design of novel T cell-based therapies and cancer vaccines.
We have a particular focus on identifying solutions to cancer immunotherapy which benefit a broad range of patients, including immune-modulation strategies ranging from repurposing existing medicines through to modulating the microenvironment within tumours using bespoke virus-based therapeutics.
Funded by UK Research and Innovation, the charity sector, and through our partnerships with the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, the Wales Cancer Research Centre, the Cardiff Cancer Research Hub, Pharma and Biotech, we are accelerating the path from discovery science to clinical studies to improve outcomes for cancer patients in Wales and beyond.
Infectious disease and pandemics
Infectious diseases and pandemics are threatening to life, health and economies. Effective management of current infections and future infectious threats will need to consider both the biology of the pathogen and how the immune system responds to the infection. We use our extensive expertise in viruses and antiviral immunity to understand host-pathogen interactions during infection to inform the development of novel intervention strategies, treatments and diagnostics. We also focus on vaccinations through the development of novel virus-based vaccine platforms and high-definition investigation of the correlates of vaccine-induced protective immunity.
According to the World Health Organization, ‘One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems’. Using interdisciplinary approaches, we seek to adopt a One Health approach to integrate studies of human host/pathogen interactions, animal health, behavioural sciences, socioeconomics and environmental sciences.
Through these multi-disciplinary investigations that encompass a multitude of national and international academic and industrial collaborations, we aim to establish knowledge and develop strategies to protect us now and in the future from infectious threats.
Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases
Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, are non-infectious diseases that affect specific or multiple organs. Our research boasts a broad research portfolio covering a diverse group of human diseases sharing common inflammatory or immune mechanisms.
Founded on collaborations between discovery scientists and clinical academics, the theme employs systems immunology and systems medicine approaches to improve patient diagnosis, stratification, and treatment decisions through investigation of the molecular and cellular basis of host immunity, tissue inflammation and chronic disease progression. Funding from UK Research and Innovation, the charity sector and industrial partners supports research in cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, arthritis, diabetes, neuroinflammation, dermatological diseases and wounds.
The immune system plays a critical role in many neurological and psychiatric diseases. As part of the UK Dementia Research Institute and the Hodge Centre, we merge immunological and virological expertise with neuroscience to find the new and improved therapies that are urgently needed in this area of medicine. Guided by knowledge gained for genetic studies of neurological and psychiatric diseases, we particularly focus on identifying how inflammatory immune responses contribute to these conditions, and also seek to understand how infections can influence disease progression.
We aim to understand the role that the immune system plays in pain recognition. Expanding this research field is of utmost importance as this will have significant implications for chronic inflammatory diseases where the immune system also contributes to depression, fatigue, mood disorders and changes in sleep patterns. Our collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach allow us to make real impact in the field of neuro-immunological diseases.
Data and artificial intelligence
Systems Immunology looks to decipher the complex biology of the immune system through integrating data from large-scale experimental technologies and the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI). This theme aims to operate distinct research activities in AI as well as join the data-led activities in all other themes within this research institute.
Data-readiness for Artificial Intelligence is a current hot-topic with mention in the UK government’s National AI Strategy mandating FAIR data: Data that is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. FAIR data is fast becoming the de facto standard in AI in the Life Sciences, with focused activities in pan-European projects such as ELIXR-CONVERGE and EOSC-Life.
Through coupling effective FAIR data stewardship, integration and AI, we aim to advance the discovery of new immune biology and develop diagnostic assays and therapeutics.
Research theme leads
For further information about our research activities please contact our theme leads: