Thursday 26 May 2016

Therapeutic Tolerance





PI Seminar Series


Speaker:      Professor Herman Waldmann FRS, FMedSci,

Professor of Pathology,

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford


Venue:      Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

Date:                     6th June 2016

Time:               13.00-14.00




Professor Waldmann will present:


‘Mechanisms underlying therapeutic tolerance’




A major goal in immunosuppressive therapy is to provide short-term therapy to achieve long-term benefit.


This has been possible in mouse models using monoclonal antibody intervention.


Here I will summarise what we know about the mechanisms underlying such immune reprogramming with some emphasis on the roles of TGFbeta in the process.




Chair: Professor Andrew Mellor



Saturday 21 May 2016

Deregulated cellular signalling, stratified medicine, novel biomarkers and precision based therapeutics for melanoma





PI Seminar Series



Speaker:              Professor Penny Lovat, Professor of Cellular Dermatology and Oncology

Venue:      Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

Date:                     23rd May 2016

Time:               13.00-14.00


Professor Penny Lovat will present:


Harnessing deregulated cellular signalling for stratified medicine, novel biomarkers and precision based therapeutics for melanoma’




Cutaneous melanoma is an ever increasing global health problem, resulting in over 2000 deaths from metastatic disease annually in the UK alone. Despite initial success with specific therapies targeting the BRAF protein kinase and downstream pro-survival MAPK signalling and the introduction of novel immunotherapies, there are still however, no consistently beneficial treatments for metastatic disease, emphasising the acute need for credible biomarkers able to identify high risk tumour sub groups and refine the risk of disease progression as well as novel precision based therapies to improve patient survival.

Work in my lab is focussed towards the understanding of key cellular processes that govern cellular homeostasis, their deregulation in melanoma and how these can be harnessed to define novel biomarkers as well as drug targets in order to stratify patients with metastatic disease for more effective therapy.

Through the understanding of key mechanisms regulating the unfolded protein response, autophagy, apoptosis and chemotaxis and their interplay, we have defined over the last 5 years or so, a number of novel prognostic biomarkers (eg p62, CXCR4), drug targets (eg XIAP), and targeted therapeutic approaches (eg using cytotoxic autophagy-inducing cannabinoid derivatives) for cutaneous melanoma. As well as reviewing recently published key autophagy biomarker and therapeutic strategies, novel data defining companion biomarkers able to stratify particular high risk tumour melanoma subgroups for novel adjuvant TGFβ pathway-specific targeted therapeutic approach will be presented. Through the increased understanding of key deregulated cellular signalling mechanisms in melanoma, our ultimate goal is to harness biomarkers of these processes for novel personalised and precision based therapies, increasing treatment efficacy as well as the reduction in the premature loss of life from this most lethal form of skin cancer.

Chair: Professor Mark Birch-Machin


Tuesday 17 May 2016

Breast Cancer and Diabetes Talks




ICM Research Seminar

Speakers: Marco Silipo (Dr A. Tyson-Capper, Dr H. Gautrey)
Dr Kenneth Hodson (Prof R. Taylor, Prof S. Robson,
Dr V. Araujo-Soares)

Venue: Dental Lecture Theatre F, Dental School
Date and Time: Wednesday 18th May 2016, 13.00 pm – 14.00 pm


Marco Silipo will discuss:

"Defining regulation of the HER2 splice variant Herstatin in breast cancer cell lines."

This project focuses on the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) which is over-expressed in 30% of breast tumours (HER2+) l. Although several therapies target HER2, patients often acquire drug resistance. Alternative splicing of HER2 gene generates a functional distinct variant (Herstatin) which arises from inclusion of intron 8. Herstatin acts as tumour suppressor by effectively blocking HER2 activity and cell proliferation. The aim of this project is to define the factors that regulate the alternative splicing of Herstatin.



Dr Kenneth Hodson will discuss:

WELLBABE: WEight Loss Looking for Baby and Mother’s Better Outcomes – A Pilot Study of Dietary Intervention for the Treatment of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

This project uses magnetic resonance techniques to define the physiology of insulin resistance in pregnancy and the pathophysiology of gestational diabetes, a poorly understood condition affecting 5% of women and contributing to worse obstetric outcomes. We explore the metabolic effect of a reduced calorie diet (1,200kcal/day), a controversial treatment in pregnancy, on liver fat content and glycaemic control. This is the first in vivo study of liver fat in human pregnancy and will inform future metabolic and clinical studies.

At The Coal Face of Arthritis Research

Monday 16 May 2016

Environment, epigenetics and human diseases...





PI Seminar Series


Speaker:         Dr Hyang-Min Byun, Newcastle University Research Fellow

Venue:      Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

Date:              16th May 2016

Time:              13.00-14.00



Dr Hyang-Min Byun will present:


‘Environmental exposures, epigenetics and human diseases’





The environment can influence human health and disease in many harmful ways. Many epidemiological studies have been conducted with the aim of elucidating associations between environmental exposures and human disease at the molecular and pathological levels and such associations can often be through induced epigenetic changes. There are number of epigenetic studies, particularly focussed on DNA methylation, investigating the impact of environmental exposures such as air pollution and diets. The two cellular organelles that contain DNA are the nucleus and mitochondria, and both of them are affected by environmental exposures. Here, I will discuss nuclear and mitochondrial epigenetics, and the evidence linking environmental exposures to epigenetic changes and their subsequent implication in human disease.





Tuesday 3 May 2016

MRG Newcastle Researchers in their natural habitats

Café Scientifique - Monday 16th May

On Monday 16th May at 7pm Dr Catharien Hilkens will be presenting as part of Café Scientifique:


Cell Therapies: from the laboratory to the clinic

Cell therapies have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Catharien Hilkens, Newcastle University, and members of Immunology North East will discuss the challenges in delivering these new cell therapies for our health services.


The event will be held at DC Café, at Dance City, Temple Street, Newcastle NE1 4BR, which is a 5 minute walk from Newcastle Central train and metro station.  A map showing the location of the venue is available here.

Full details of all Café events can be found at