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BSI London Immunology Group committee members

The BSI London Immunology Group (LIG) committee consists of immunologists at a range of career stages and with a variety of scientific interests, from across several of London’s research institutions. Below you can find more information about our committee.  We're always keen to hear from immunologists working in the London area, so please do get in touch. 

Kevin Woollard, Chair

Kevin completed his PhD in 2003 and in 2012 became a group leader within the Division of Immunology at Imperial College London. His main interest is understanding monocyte biology during vascular inflammation, utilising intravital microscopy to characterise their in vivo effector functions and contribution to cardiovascular and kidney disease. Kevin has contributed to organising LIG’s meeting program since 2016 and is an advocate for quality training of postgraduate students and early career researcher development. In 2019, Kevin joined AstraZeneca (Cambridge) as Principal Scientist and Chronic Kidney Disease lead. He will continue working in the lab at Imperial College as Honorary Senior Lecturer and will continue high level immunology training in both academia and industry.


James Harker, Secretary

James is a Sir Henry Dale Fellow and group leader at Imperial College London’s South Kensington Campus. He completed his PhD at St Mary's Hospital with Peter Openshaw, before moving to the US for 5 years, where he was an Irvington Institute Fellow in Elina Zuniga’s Group in San Diego. His current research interests revolve around understanding the regulation of CD4 T cells during infection and inflammation. He has however been known to work on dendritic cells, macrophages, Natural Killer cells, CD8 T cells and stromal immunity. He has been involved with the London Immunology Group since November 2014, first as Chair and since November 2017 as Secretary.


Laura Pallett, Treasurer

Laura has a BSc in Medical Biochemistry and completed her PhD in 2014. Laura is currently a senior postdoctoral research associate at University College London in Professor Mala Maini’s lab with research interests in tissue-residency and immunometabolism with the aim of understanding mechanisms of immune dysfunction in the context of chronic hepatitis B infection. Laura has recently joined the LIG as Treasurer, but also wants to make sure that Early Career Researchers are well represented across London. She is also an Early Career Representative on the BSI's Forum



Ryan Thwaites, Senior Postdoctoral Rep

Ryan is a postdoctoral research associate at the National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London. He completed his PhD in 2015 on innate immune signalling in autoimmune conditions before transitioning into the field of respiratory infection. His current research interests centre on innate immunity in the respiratory tract, mucosal antibodies and anti-viral inflammation. Ryan is also the Early Career Representative on the BSI Inflammation Affinity Group.



Alice Burton, Digital Communications Officer

Alice is a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of Professor Mala Maini at UCL, studying antiviral roles of B cells in the context of chronic hepatitis B infection. As a new member of the committee, Alice hopes to provide a voice for PhD students in London hoping to pursue a career in immunological research. She is also an Early Career Representative on the BSI's Forum.



Tom Maguire, PhD Student Representative

Tom is currently a first-year PhD student at the MRC & Asthma UK Centre for Allergic Mechanisms in Asthma at King’s College London, having completed his MSc in Immunology in 2017. His research primarily focusses on the role of lipid mediators in asthma pathogenesis and airway inflammation. In addition to his PhD project, he also has a wider interest in mast cell biology and immunometabolism.



Sophie Curio, PhD Student Representative

Sophie is a second year PhD student in Nadia Guerra’s group at Imperial College London. After completing her BSc in Germany, she came to London for her MRes and PhD. Her current research focusses on the role of NK cell receptors in intestinal inflammation and tumour development.




Gaëlle Le Friec, Industrial representative

Gaëlle is a Senior Scientist at UCB Celltech in the therapeutic area focusing on immunological diseases. After completing her PhD in Immunology, Gaëlle performed her post-doctoral studies at Washington University of St Louis, USA and then at King’s College London, UK. Her main research interests are the role and regulation of T cells and the innate-adaptive immune crosstalks.




Louisa James, Academic Representative

Louisa is a Lecturer in Immunology at the Blizard Institute, Barts and The London Medical School, Queen Mary University of London. She completed her PhD at the National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College. This was followed by post-doctoral training at King’s College London before setting up her own research group in 2016. Her group aims to understand the role of antibody in B cell development and in particular the regulation and maintenance of B cell memory.



Fränze Progatzky, CRICK representative​

Fränze is a postdoctoral scientist in the lab of Vassilis Pachnis at the Francis Crick Institute. After completing her PhD in mucosal immunology in 2014, she moved to the field of neuroimmunology and now studies the interactions between the enteric nervous system and immune cells during gut homeostasis and in response to intestinal infections.