We aim to develop new tools for diagnosing, preventing and treating important diseases.

In areas such as embryo health, tissue engineering and vaccine development, we are exploiting advanced imaging and post-genomic technologies through collaborations with the NHS and industrial partners. We also work closely with local and national charities.

Focus areas

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We're tackling three global challenges with our research. Explore our other challenges:

Infectious diseases and immunology

Our research into infection and immunology focuses on human diseases and tackles this from a range of perspectives, from fundamental cell biology to population-level studies.

One area of strength is our research into neglected tropical diseases afflicting the world’s poorest people. This has led to new 'first-in-man' vaccine trials and drug discovery pipelines leading the way to new therapeutics. We carry out mechanistic studies of protective immunity and immunopathology in model systems and also have significant strength in unravelling pathogen molecular biology to inform new treatments.

We also focus on more fundamental studies of immune and blood cell function in health and disease, ranging from control of immune cell function by non-coding RNA, haematopoietic stem cell fate, chemokine biology and tissue-specific immunity.

Diagnosing and treating cancer

The Department is home to researchers who are studying the causes of cancer and taking steps to translate our insights into new ways to treat or diagnose breast, lung, bladder and prostate cancer in particular.

We are interested in the underpinning processes that govern the activity of normal cells. We also seek to identify changes that allow cancer cells to escape normal control. Such changes have the potential to be exploited as the basis of new therapies, or as biomarkers that indicate the presence of diseased cells in the body. Our researchers are modelling the processes by which cells differentiate and the safeguards which ensure this takes place with high fidelity.

We are also interested in the mechanisms by which cells communicate with and influence their environment, and the role that this plays in breast cancer in particular.

Combatting degenerative disease

Degeneration of the nervous system is increasingly prevalent, particularly in old age. Conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, frontotemporal dementia or Motor Neuron Disease/ALS impact many families in the UK and beyond.

The thriving neuroscience research community in York studies the causes of these diseases, using a range of approaches from molecule to bedside, to better understand the deficits within nerve cells. We are also focused on developing novel therapies to treat these degenerative illnesses, including the ‘re-purposing’ of existing drugs, with good safety records.

Impact highlight

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We're tackling three global challenges with our research. Explore our other challenges: