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Themes

We translate cutting-edge research in immunology into clinical innovation.

The Systems Immunity Research Institute focuses on four research themes, to deliver medical advances that make real impact.

  • Immuno-oncology
  • Infectious disease and pandemics
  • Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases
  • Neuro-immunology

Immuno-Oncology

Microscopy image of a tumour

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

Stock image of coronavirus

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. Using multi-disciplinary approaches, we seek to identify how vaccine-induced protection is influenced by geographical, behavioural, and socioeconomic factors.

Through these multi-disciplinary investigations that encompass a multitude of national and international academic and industrial collaborations, we aim to establish knowledge and develop therapeutics to protect us now and in the future from infectious threats.

Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases

Inflammation

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.

Neuro-Immunology

Neuron

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.

Research theme Leads

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

Professor Ian Humphreys

Professor Ian Humphreys

Director of Systems Immunity Research Institute. 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
Telephone
02920 687012
Professor Awen Gallimore

Professor Awen Gallimore

Co-Director of Systems Immunity Research Institute

Welsh speaking
Email
gallimoream@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2068 7012
Professor Kathy Triantafilou

Professor Kathy Triantafilou

Chair

Email
triantafilouk@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29207 42802/44184
Professor Simon Jones

Professor Simon Jones

Dean of Research; Co-Director of Systems Immunity Research Institute; Research Theme Lead - Infection, Inflammation & Immunity

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