Thursday 30 March 2017

CHaBi Lecture - Joris Veltman 06 April 2017 at 16.00 Ground Floor Seminar Room (B107) West Wing at ICfL

This should be good...


06 April 2017


16.00 – IGM Seminar Room B107, Ground Floor West Wing, at ICfL



Joris Veltman

Professor of Translational Genomics and

Director Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle



Large-scale exome and genome sequencing in genetic disease: Impact for research and diagnostics




Following the close of the lecture there will be a networking opportunity, with refreshments, in the adjacent Breakout Room.




To attend the lecture, please book a place at:



Full details of this event are available on the CHaBi web pages at:

Monday 27 March 2017

Fw: ICM Research Seminar - Wednesday 29.03.2017, 1-2pm, Dental Lecture F

Including an interesting looking talk on prosthetic joint infection...



ICM Research Seminar
Wednesday 29th March 2017



Rashmi Maheshwari

(Dr M. White, Prof J. Shaw)

Evaluation of β-cell plasticity in Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is characterized by dysfunction of insulin producing beta-cells in the pancreatic islets. Until now, cell death due to autoimmunity has been considered as the primary mechanism underlying beta-cell dysfunction in T1DM. An evolving concept in type 2 diabetes is that changes in beta-cell identity, rather than death, contribute to beta-cell dysfunction. This is characterised by loss of end-differentiated proteins and mis-expression of other, non-beta-cell hormones e.g. glucagon. This study aims at exploring whether such beta-cell plasticity events occur in T1DM.


Dr Olivier Govaere
(Prof Q. Anstee, Prof A. Daly, Prof F. Oakley)

Elucidating Pathways of Steatohepatitis

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents a spectrum of disease occurring in the absence of excessive alcohol consumption that ranges from isolated hepatic triglyceride accumulation (steatosis); through hepatic triglyceride accumulation plus inflammation and hepatocyte injury (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH); and ultimately progresses to fibrosis/cirrhosis and potentially hepatocellular carcinoma. NAFLD is a common condition, strongly associated with the Metabolic Syndrome (obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and dyslipidaemia) and characterised by substantial inter-patient variability in severity and rate of progression. Reflecting the relatively indolent course of even advanced liver fibrosis, clinically relevant NAFLD frequently presents in the 5/6th decade and is a common cause of liver dysfunction within the ageing UK population.
Our research aims to better understand the pathogenesis of NAFLD by unravelling underlying pathways using a high-throughput RNA sequencing and DNA methylation approach. In addition, we have established an ex-vivo human model to validate our findings.

Martin Marsh
(Prof G. Burgess, Dr N. Jakubovics, Mr M. Reed)
Improved diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection using a marine nuclease
NucB an endonuclease produced from a marine bacterium Bacillus licheniformis is an effective enzyme capable of biofilm disruption by degrading extracellular DNA  which is recognised as an essential component of the biofilm matrix. This research project evaluated the use of NucB to aid in the diagnosis of prosthetic joint infection, which is often challenging due to the bacteria's ability to form biofilm encapsulated communities on the prosthetic joint surface thus avoiding detection by standard microbiological culture techniques.



Chair: Zelal Kharaba




Dental Lecture Theatre F, Medical School





Thursday 23 March 2017

Dr Roxanne Tussiwand - 6th April

Should be interesting...




PI Seminar Series


Speaker:              Dr Roxanne Tussiwand, Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel

Venue:                 Dental Lecture Theatre F

Date:                     Thursday 6th April 2017

Time:                    TBC



Dr Roxanne Tussiwand will present:


"Dendritic Cells: from Development to Function"



Dendritic cells (DCs) are critical regulators of the immune system bridging innate with adaptive immunity and maintaining tolerance. DCs constantly patrol tissues while collecting antigens. During an infection or following sterile inflammation DCs are able to orchestrate the immune response through the secretion of the appropriate cytokines and the initiation of the adaptive immune response. The complexity of the different immune responses argues for subset specialization within the DC compartment. Understanding the functional identity of the different DC subsets is instrumental to understand how our immune system works.

DC can be subdivided into 4 major branches: conventional dendritic cells type 1 (cDC1) and Type 2 (cDC2), plasmacytoid DC (pDCs) and monocyte derived DCs (moDC). Each DC lineage requires a specific transcriptional network for its development and its function. My research has mostly focused on defining the IRF8-IRF4 transcriptional modules required for cDC1 and cDC2 development. The study of the transcriptional regulation of the different DC subsets in the context of infections enables us to define the molecular clues required to trigger the appropriate immune response. We could show how the IRF8 transcriptional module is required during CTL and Th1 immune responses, while the IRF4 transcriptional module is necessary for the induction of Th2 immunity.

Collectively, understanding the pathways inducing tolerance and protective immunity against pathogens and tumors will be instrumental for the discovery of novel targets aimed at modulating immune responses in chronic inflammation as well as design targets for immune-based therapies.



Chair: Professor Muzz Haniffa



Tuesday 21 March 2017

ICM Research Seminar - Tomorrow - RA Pathogenesis

Go Alex!



 ICM Research Seminar
Wednesday 22nd March 2017



Alex Clark

(Dr A. Pratt, Dr L. Reynard, Prof J. Isaacs)

Characterising CD4+ T cell mediated mechanisms of genetic risk in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a heterogeneous autoimmune condition with a complex aetiology.
Despite the identification of over 100 risk loci associated with susceptibility to RA, the mechanisms through which these variants contribute to pathogenesis remain poorly characterised. CD4+ T cells are strongly implicated in RA disease processes, and the aim of this study is to identify how genetic and epigenetic variation can impact expression of genes in this relevant cell type. To this end, we use techniques including array-based profiling of genome-wide DNA methylation, together with the integration of genotype and transcriptome data, to understand CD4+ T cell immune dysregulation during early arthritis.

Sarah Thompson

(Prof S. Ali, Prof J. Kirby, Prof N. Sheerin)

Post-translational modification of Chemokines during heart transplantation: Implications for their biological function

Post-translational modifications of chemokines occur as a result of ischaemia-reperfusion injury during transplantation, and nitration in particular has been shown to affect chemokine activity (through alterations in receptor-binding and GAG-binding), as well as detectability. The functionality of nitrated chemokines must be better understood in order to maximise their potential as potential therapeutics or biomarkers.

Ally Leitch

(Prof M. Wright)

An Ionic Liquid activates estrogen receptors
An ionic liquid has been discovered to be present in an active landfill site and found to have toxic effects. We have shown that this chemical also acts as a xenoestrogen and activates the estrogen receptors.

Chair: Dr Nicola Maney

Dental Lecture Theatre F, Medical School


Tuesday 14 March 2017

Heather Foggo

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Heather Foggo at the weekend.

Many of you will remember Heather from her time at MRG where she worked as a research nurse at the Freeman Hospital. Heather supported numerous clinical trials and was instrumental in collecting patient samples for much of our laboratory work including the UK Primary Sjogren's Registry and Newcastle Bone & Joint Study.  Those of us who knew her will remember her enthusiasm and infectious sense of humour.  Our thoughts are with her family.

 - Prof John Isaacs

Thursday 9 March 2017

Big Data Bioinformatics - Monday 13th March




PI Seminar Series



Speaker:              Prof. Anil Wipat, Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex BioSystems Group (ICOS), School of Computing Science.

Venue:            Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

Date:               Monday 13th March 2017

Time:               13.00-14.00



Professor Anil Wipat will present:


'Pulling it all together: Integrating biological data and bioinformatics

tools for biodata mining"




Biological datasets are increasing in size and complexity. Making sense of these data is challenging and requires approaches to clean up the data, integrate data together and innovative approaches to mining these integrated data. Often, it is also necessary to join up biological tools into workflows to carry out a common tasks that operate over multiple datasets. Our group researches novel approaches to all of these tasks, to provide tools that are able to cope with large, complex and heterogeneous data. In this talk I will outline some of these approaches and demonstrate how they are being applied to mining for drug repurposing opportunities and to the discovery of novel diagnostic biomarkers for the development of diagnostics for infectious disease.

Chair: Professor Muzz Haniffa

Thursday 2 March 2017

4th Newcastle Therapeutic Tolerance workshop - 27th-30th June 2017



In June 2017 we will be hosting our fourth international workshop on Clinical Therapeutic Tolerance (draft programme attached).   Our workshops take place every four years and focus on therapeutic tolerance 'in the clinic', across the fields of transplantation and autoimmunity.  It is amazing how fast the field has progressed since our first workshop in 2005.  This year we will be receiving reports from some of the first concerted international efforts to switch off unwanted immune responses, as well as updates on the relevant science and, of course, our hallmark and light-hearted debates between international opinion leaders.  Places for this conference are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.   


Poster Presentations - Abstract submission deadline 17th March 2017

If you wish to be considered for a poster presentation please provide a 350 word abstract (no more than 1 side of A4), with up to 1 figure or table and include subheadings (Objectives, Methods, Results, Discussion) no later than Friday 17th March.

Abstracts should be sent to (you will hear before the end of March whether your abstract has been accepted).

To register for this event (Newcastle University delegate rate is £260 / student rate is £235) please contact Lisa Tait (   

Dendritic Cells - ICM PI Seminar - 6th March




PI Seminar Series


Speaker:              Dr Bart Everts, Leiden Immunoparasitology Group, Leiden University Medical Center

Venue:            Baddiley Clark Seminar Room

Date:               Monday 6th March 2017

Time:               13.00-14.00



Dr Bart Everts will present:


'Metabolic control of dendritic cell-driven immune polarization'



Dendritic cells (DCs) play a crucial role in the regulation of adaptive immune responses by governing the activation and maintenance of different CD4+ T helper subsets and CD8+ cytotoxic T cell responses. As such, there is great interest in developing approaches to target and manipulate these cells for immunotherapy. Over the last 5 years it has become increasingly clear that immune cell activation, proliferation, fate and function are closely linked to, and dependent on activation of specific metabolic pathways. This has led to the emerging concept that manipulation of immune cell metabolism could be a powerful and attractive approach to direct immune responses. Evidence is accumulating that cellular metabolism also plays a key role in DC biology. I will here discuss our most recent findings in this field of DC metabolism, with particular focus on the crucial roles for particular metabolic pathways in DCs that underpin their ability to prime and polarize different T cell responses.





Chair: Professor Muzz Haniffa