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Upcoming BSI Groups meeting: Inflammation at barrier sites

Gut microbe. Image credit: NIAID

We are looking forward to welcoming world-leading immunologists for a two-day event on mechanisms underpinning inflammation and immunity in the gut, lung and skin. ‘Inflammation at barrier sites’ has been organised by the BSI Inflammation Affinity Group and the BSI Greater Manchester Immunology Group. Here, they share details about this exciting meeting.

Star speakers

The BSI Inflammation Affinity Group is delighted to organise, in conjunction with investigators from the Lydia Becker Institute, and the BSI Greater Manchester Immunology Group, a timely and accessible meeting on the topic of ‘Inflammation at barrier sites’ at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology on 26–27 April 2023. You can book your place here

We are thrilled to welcome Professor Dame Fiona Powrie, Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, and Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences at the University of Oxford, to give the opening keynote address for our meeting. Her research is focused around characterisation of the interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the host immune system and exploring how this mutualistic relationship can break down in inflammatory bowel disease.

We are also extremely lucky to welcome Professor Muzz Haniffa to give our closing keynote address. Professor Haniffa is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, Professor of Dermatology and Immunology at Newcastle University, an Associate Faculty member at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and a winner of the Foulkes Foundation Medal. Professor Haniffa’s research is centred around the use of omics technologies to study cells at single cell resolution to understand how the immune system develops and maintains health, and studying the consequences of infection, inflammation and disease.

A gutsy start

Our exciting and diverse programme of invited speakers is split into three sessions based on target organ inflammation. In the gut session, we are grateful to welcome Dr Shai Bel, Principal Investigator of the Bel lab based within Bar-Ilan University in Israel who is focused upon understanding the roles of Paneth and goblet cells in intestinal barriers and development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). We also welcome Dr Mahima Swamy, Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow and Programme Leader in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit at the University of Dundee. Dr Swamy studies the function and regulation of intraepithelial lymphocytes that reside in the intestinal epithelium, which are central to controlling infection, stress or transformation of the gut epithelium. Finally, we welcome Dr Neil McCarthy, MRC Career Development Fellow and Lecturer in Immunology from Queen Mary University of London, who is interested in how γδ T-cells protect mucosal barriers against microbial invasion and inflammation, and studying the pathological disruption of these functions in patients with IBD.

Lung health and disease

In the lung session we will be joined by Professor Rob Snelgrove, Professor of Respiratory Science from Imperial College, London, whose group works on pathways that drive inflammation and remodelling during respiratory infection and in chronic lung disease. Dr Calum Bain, Sir Henry Dale Fellow within the Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh will discuss signals that dictate macrophage behaviour in healthy tissues and during successful tissue repair, with a view to promoting or targeting these signals in inflammatory/fibrotic disease. We also welcome Dr Emma Chambers, Bart’s Charity Lecturer within the Centre for Immunobiology at the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, whose group is interested in understanding how stromal and immune cells change in the lung with age and the implications of these discoveries on lung health and disease.

Skin surveillance

Finally, in our skin session, we welcome Professor Jessica Strid, Professor of Cellular Immunology in Imperial College London. Professor Strid researches immune surveillance at epithelial body surface tissues with a focus on understanding the role of tissue-resident immune cells in regulating epithelial cell homeostasis, repair and carcinogenesis. Dr Heidi Kong is Senior Investigator and Head of the Cutaneous Microbiome and Inflammation Section at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at NIH. Dr Kong’s group studies the diversity and complexity of bacterial, fungal and viral communities in healthy skin and in eczema from patients with atopic dermatitis and with primary immunodeficiencies. Our final speaker here is Dr Joanne Konkel, BBSRC David Phillips Fellow within the University of Manchester, who is interested in how the immune system is tailored to the tissue microenvironment of the GI and oral mucosa, and where specialised immune cell networks have developed to help mediate effective immunological control of these dynamic barrier environments.

Registration is open!

We’re happy to provide opportunities to PhD students and early career researchers to give selected oral presentations as well as plenty of opportunities for poster presentations and engaging with other attendees. Registration for the meeting is open – we hope to see you there!

Professor Peter Barlow
Chair of the BSI Inflammation Affinity Group, in collaboration with the BSI Greater Manchester Immunology Group

Get involved!

BSI Inflammation Affinity Group: a UK-wide network of researchers interested in the mechanisms of inflammation and how they contribute to disease, connecting a range of interests that span the initiation, regulation and resolution of inflammation during infection, to mechanisms of sterile inflammation that contribute to disease pathogenesis.

BSI Greater Manchester Immunology Group: a large immunology community in Manchester organising seminars and meetings throughout the year to provide a provide a forum for scientists with an interest in immunology to meet and discuss their work and ideas.