Skip to content

Themes

Our basic, translational and clinical research uses state-of-the-art technological platforms, bioinformatics and biostatistics expertise and mathematical modelling.

Our research takes advantage of unique access to large clinical datasets and to state-of-the-art 'big data' technologies, which comprise whole genome sequencing, genome-wide linkage and association studies, cutting edge imaging and 'omics platforms (transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics), polychromatic flow cytometry and protein crystallography. This work benefits from close links to the Data Innovation Research Institute at Cardiff University.

The Systems Immunity Research Institute focuses on three overlapping themes, to dissect the multilayered interactions between the immune system, tissues and microorganisms.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic Inflammation
Micrograph of a mouse cerebellum

Failure to regulate acute inflammation and the subsequent transition into chronicity is recognised as a key step in the development of cancer, autoimmunity and non-healing wounds, and the many diseases associated with ageing – among them arthritis, atherosclerosis, dementia and vision loss.

We utilise systems approaches to understand how self-reactive immune responses give rise to pathology, and explore dysregulated immune responses in disease scenarios to identify common pathways that are tractable to therapeutic intervention and aid patient stratification.

Persistent and resistant infections

 Persistent and Resistant Infection
Human cytomegalovirus-infected fibroblasts

The emergence of antimicrobial resistance represents one of the major global health threats. Persistent infections cause debilitating disease in the elderly and in immunocompromised individuals. At the same time, little is known about how our body interacts with the myriad of microorganisms it is constantly exposed to.

We use infection models, cutting edge bioinformatics frameworks and cohort studies in defined patient groups to elucidate complex host-pathogen relationships and define how the microbiome influences human health. The knowledge gained from these interdisciplinary and systems-based approaches informs the development of novel treatments, vaccines and diagnostics.

Mechanisms of immunity

Mechanism of Immunity
Atomic structure of a cancer fragment

Immune surveillance plays a key role in protecting the body against tumour development and maintaining cellular homeostasis. The underlying mechanisms can be exploited for novel therapies harnessing the immune system to combat cancer and autoimmune disorders.

We study fundamental processes including leukocyte trafficking, cytokine signalling, immune modulation and antigen recognition. We use bench-to-bedside approaches taking preclinical disease models through to the clinic, and take clinical findings back to the bench. Systems approaches are essential for understanding why some individuals respond to treatment whilst others do not, thereby opening doors for tailored combination therapies comprising immune-modulating agents and stratified medicine approaches.

Research theme Leads

For further information about our research activities please contact our Theme Leads:

Professor Simon Jones

Professor Simon Jones

Dean of Research; Research Theme Lead - Infection, Inflammation & Immunity

Email:
jonessa@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 7325
Professor Ian Humphreys

Professor Ian Humphreys

Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow. Infection Lead, Division of Infection and Immunity and Persistent and Resistant Infections Theme Lead, Systems Immunity Research Institute

Email:
humphreysir@cardiff.ac.uk
Professor Andrew Sewell

Professor Andrew Sewell

Professor, Division of Infection and Immunity. Mechanisms of Immunity Theme Lead, Systems Immunity Research Institute.

Email:
sewellak@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 7055