The British Society for Immunology is proud to announce the list of those who successfully obtained funding in the latest round of the BSI Career Enhancing Grant. This grant scheme provides an extra level of careers support to our members.
Supporting current and future generations of immunologists throughout their careers is a vital part of our mission.
Many congratulations to the members who have been awarded funding in this round – we are delighted to be able to support your career development!
Over £51,000 was awarded in this round of funding to 15 BSI members from across the UK, covering a wide range of projects from generating pilot data to attending training courses. You can find out more details about the projects funded below, in addition to short case studies at the bottom of the page.
Through this offering, we hope to continue building a strong immunology workforce that drives innovation and provides life-saving benefits to all.
Claire Adams, University of Edinburgh – Training in a single cell methodology to determine energy metabolism of monocytes in IBD using flow cytometry
Dr Nicola Annels, University of Surrey – Using Miltenyi’s MACSima spatial biology imaging system to understand the extent to which tumour immune biology contributes to the racial disparity in prostate cancer clinical outcomes
Dr Irina Chelysheva, University of Oxford – Laboratory leadership for postdocs - EMBO
Dr Sian Faustini, University of Birmingham – Merck Rapid Point of Care Test Development Workshop 2023
Alice Hawkins, Imperial College London – Developing in vitro models for studying trans-placental antibody transfer
Sophie Langdon, King's College London – Enhancing effective management skills both in theory and in practice
Dr Bert Malengier-Devlies, University of Edinburgh – Can we link microbiome changes in early life and rheumatoid arthritis? Expert training
Dr Joy Nakawesi, Imperial College London – mRNA sequencing technique used to study human lung immune responses to viral infections using Precision-Cut Lung Slices
Dr Amanda Ridley Mainwaring, University of Manchester – Defining the expression and function of CXCL4 during rest and inflammation in vivo
Dr Theo Simakou, University of Glasgow – Protective MERTKpos TREM2pos macrophages in the synovial membrane are lost by mechanisms involving activation of PIEZO1 mechanosensor.
Dr Emilia Skirmuntt, University of Oxford – Attending ‘Functions, signatures and biomarkers’ & ‘Command-line omics Linux and Python’ online courses
Dr Anna Surace, Queen Mary University of London – BCR and TCR repertoire analysis of bulk RNA-Sequencing data of two multi-site, multi-country, open-label randomised controlled clinical trials.
Ella Taylor, Babraham Institute and University of Cambridge – Investigating dynamic changes in RNA structure in B-lymphocytes
Lindsey Waddell, University of Edinburgh – In-depth training in principles of human and veterinary vaccine design, development and deployment
- Dr Lakshanie Wickramasinghe, University of Oxford – Developing a new mouse model of inflammatory eye disease
Applications for the next grant round will close on Monday 25 September 2023 at 23:59 BST. We will be accepting applications from the start of July. You can find out more, including how to apply, in the grants section of our website.
There are two application deadlines per year, one in September and one in March.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To give you some inspiration, here's some examples of how our awardees in this grant round will benefit from the BSI Career Enhancing Grant.
Dr Joy Nakawesi, Imperial College London
We use the Precision-Cut Lung Slices (PCLS) to study immune responses to viral infections in the lower respiratory tract of humans ex vivo. Human PCLS, obtained from different patients, are restimulated with pools of viral peptides or directly infected with live respiratory viruses ex vivo. We have used RT-qPCR to study gene expression of a few select genes that are involved in the early innate inflammatory response and in the re-call of adaptive immune responses. However, thanks to the BSI Career Enhancing Grant, we will employ the mRNA sequencing technique, which captures both known and novel features of the transcriptome but also has greater accuracy and sensitivity in profiling genes with low expression levels compared to RT-qPCR. This will allow us to study, compare and quantify gene expression across the different experimental stimuli in the human PCLS. With the BSI award, I will also be able to attend the Bioinformatics training course to learn how to perform my own bioinformatic data analysis. Bioinformatics and mRNA-Seq techniques are essential skills that I am confident will help me push beyond the limits of traditional research methods and widen my expertise as an immunologist.
Dr Theo Simakou, University of Glasgow
During my PhD, I researched PIEZO1 in macrophages and T cells, when there was very limited understanding of this mechanosensor's role in immune cells or immune responses. After the PhD, I moved into the laboratory of Professor Mariola Kurowska-Stolarska, where I participated in research aimed at understanding the mechanisms that lead to the loss of joint lining layer MerTKposTREM2pos macrophages in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
While working as a Research Assistant, I began noticing patterns that hinted at the involvement of PIEZO1 mechanotransduction in the loss of MerTKposTREM2pos macrophages. I proposed this idea to Professor Kurowska-Stolarska, who agreed to test this hypothesis within our lab. Interestingly, the results of the first experiments strongly supported the hypothesis, and loss of the MerTKposTREM2pos phenotype was observed upon PIEZO1 stimulation. Around the same time, I became acquainted with the BSI Career Enhancing Grant, an excellent opportunity that would enable me to further explore how PIEZO1 signalling contributes to the decline of joint resident macrophages in more advanced in vivo experiments. The outcome of these experiments has the potential for publications in major journals and help me establish my own line of research in the near future.
I am very happy and grateful that the British Society for Immunology awarded me the grant. Overall, this grant will allow me to continue the PIEZO1 research, a subject that has captivated my interest for the past five years. This research holds the potential to uncover previously unknown cellular mechanisms that contribute to joint inflammation. Furthermore, being awarded this grant is a stepping-stone for me to advance my path into fellowships and Academic career, and further enhance my identity as an immunologist.
Lindsey Waddell, University of Edinburgh
I am a Core Scientist at The Roslin Institute, researching mycobacterial disease and vaccine induced immunity in cattle. This BSI Career Enhancing Grant will allow me to complete intensive Human and Veterinary Vaccinology and Clinical Vaccine Development and Biomanufacturing training courses offered by Oxford University. Attendance at these courses will provide a unique opportunity to learn from world-leading experts, and as I come to the end of my part-time PhD, it will really help me to develop my knowledge and confidence in the field, whilst moving toward a more independent research career. As an online option is available this also makes it an accessible training opportunity alongside family commitments.
I am extremely grateful to the British Society for Immunology for awarding me this Career Enhancing Grant. Were it not for this scheme, the funds would not have been available for me to attend. It has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to progress my career in immunology, and move toward achieving my goals.