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West of Scotland Immunology Group

Welcome to the West of Scotland Immunology Group (WSIG), a Regional Group of immunologists supported by the British Society for Immunology. WSIG incorporates immunologists from four local universities: Glasgow, Strathclyde, Caledonian and West of Scotland. Each year we have a lively series of seminars from national and international speakers covering a wide range of immunology areas reflecting the diverse research at the four institutes. In addition to the seminar series, WSIG hosts an annual showcase highlighting two prominent immunologists’ research as well as providing a networking poster session for PhD students and early career researchers.

News from the West of Scotland Immunology Group

Glasgow Science Festival 2021

WSIG members Drs Kerrie Hargrave and Megan MacLeod presented their Co-IMMUNicate project at the Glasgow Science Festival in September 2021. "This was one of the first in-person public engagements events we’ve been able to take part in since the pandemic”, said Megan. “It was really fantastic to be able to talk with people about our science again and have some fun with our project.” Megan and Kerrie’s Co-IMMUNicate project is a ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award funded project. The researchers work with a local school, Anderson Primary, to co-create new activities to inform and enthuse the community about immune responses to respiratory viruses.

At the Science Festival, they used coloured sweets treated with some hot water to explain how cells call out for help after they’ve been infected. Megan and Kerrie have also been working with researchers at the Glasgow School of Art to create an App based on their engagement with the Anderson Primary pupils. At the science festival, some of the pupils and teachers from Anderson Primary gave attendees a sneak preview of the App that uses viruses drawn by the pupils to trigger a fun and informative augmented reality cartoon of virus infection in the lung.








Glasgow Science Festival 2018

At this year’s Glasgow Science Festival, WSIG secretary, Dr Megan MacLeod, helped visiting kids visualise how our immune systems protect us from nasty bugs!



Largo Library

Dr Megan MacLeod visited the Largo Library in Fife to talk to local children and their families. Using glitter and bug stickers, the children learnt how our immune cells find and destroy disease-causing bugs.



Madeline White and Graham Heieis

West of Scotland Immunology Showcase

On 27 September 2017, the West of Scotland Immunology Group (WSIG) kicked off a new year of events with a hugely successful Showcase at the University of Glasgow. Speakers were eminent mucosal immunologists Bart Lambrecht (University of Gent) and Fiona Powrie (Kennedy Institute & University of Oxford), who presented the 2017 Delphine Parrott Memorial Lecture. Prof Lambrecht discussed how environmental factors act in concert with lung dendritic cells to drive asthmatic responses. Prof Powrie presented work on the interplay between the host’s intestinal microbiota and immune cells in regulating gut immunity. The showcase was extremely well attended, with standing room only! Students and postdocs from across Scotland presented their work in a lively poster session with GU’s Madeline White and Graham Heieis wining prizes. The Showcase’s success highlights the exciting immunology research happening in the west of Scotland. Thanks to the BSI for their support and Oxford BioSystems for sponsorship. (By Slater Clay)

Middle of Scotland Science Festival (MoSSFest)

PhD student Heather MacKie along with other Glasgow University PhD students attended the MoSSFest (the Middle of Scotland Science Festival), which is an annual event that takes place in Mugdock Country Park. This year the group taught children about the cells that make and break our bones by decorating biscuits. It was a really rewarding day, with many children engaging and learning about bones in a fun and friendly environment.

The Alopecia Big Weekend

PhD Student Kym Bain and the chair of WSIG Prof Simon Milling gave talks at the Alopecia Big Weekend on the generation and use of an autoimmune alopecia biobank.

Parasite: Friend of Foe?

WSIG Committee members, Drs Felicity Lumb and James Doonan, organised the BSI funded exhibit “Parasite: Friend or Foe?” to be used at a school outreach. The Harnett lab groups led by Billy and Maggie Harnett from the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, respectively, spent the morning at Westerton Primary School, teaching the primary 6 and 7s about worms and the hygiene hypothesis. The children were given a short presentation about the types of parasites that infect people and the diseases those people can suffer as a result of infection. The children were then taken round four stations to explore, the Hygiene Hypothesis Jigsaw Map, the Anatomy of an Infection Torso, the Parasite Arms Race board game and lastly (to much disgusted awe) allowed to observe our parasites under a microscope. Photos from this outreach work can be seen on the Harnett Lab website, Drugs from Bugs Facebook page and Twitter account.

Contact the West of Scotland Immunology Group

Dr Megan MacLeod
University of Glasgow
Tel: 0141 330 6968



Chair: Megan MacLeod
Secretary: Ed Roberts
Treasurer: Hannah Scales




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