The Roslin Institute
The group focuses on cellular immune responses aiming to define the mechanisms whereby natural immunity is achieved and how protective immunity is induced by vaccination. We focus specifically on antigen presenting cells and their interactions with other cells of the innate immune system including natural killer cells and gamma delta TCR+ T lymphocytes. The overall aim is to define the functional and phenotypic characteristics of innate immune cells and to assess their role in protective immunity to mycobacterial pathogens including Mycobacterium bovis and M. avium paratuberculosis. These pathogens cause economically important diseases in cattle: bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease. Alongside this we are interested in defining host-pathogen interactions in feline tuberculosis. Effective control of mycobacterial diseases requires the development of effective vaccines and/or diagnostic tests: this requires detailed knowledge of protective immune mechanisms. The development of new immunological tools, reagents and assays and validation across species is also an important area of research. This will provide the capacity to determine immunological correlates of protection against a number of strategically important diseases.