You are what you eat - harnessing myeloid cell activity to promote disease clearance

Lead researcher: Dr Ioannis Kourtzelis, Hull York Medical School

A hallmark function of the immune system during inflammation is the recognition and removal of any ‘foreign’ material by phagocytosis ensuring the return to homeostasis (normal steady state).

Phagocytosis contributes to the removal of millions of cells during inflammation daily and is extremely important in disease resolution (Kourtzelis et al, Nature Immunology 2019). Impaired phagocytosis results in chronic destructive inflammation and disease development including sterile inflammation, infectious diseases or cancer.

Memory in the innate immune system or innate immune training (IIT) is an exciting new concept that impacts current ways of understanding host defence mechanisms with important translational implications. Although mechanisms driving memory in adaptive immunity have been explored over the last century, characterisation of IIT has only recently begun. Specifically, exposure to certain types of microbial or non-microbial stimuli induces IIT in myeloid cells that engenders a sustained increased responsiveness to homologous or heterologous secondary challenges (Kourtzelis et al, Cell 2020).

Dr Kourtzelis studies the innate immune mechanisms that regulate disease pathogenesis, aiming to develop new immunotherapies. Myeloid cells are professional ‘eaters’ mediating the timely and well-coordinated phagocytosis of different types of cargo such as pathogens, tumour cells and dying cells.

Current research interests include the regulation of myeloid cell function during the onset and resolution phase of sterile or pathogen-induced inflammatory responses as well as the orchestration of anti-tumour immunity. Dr Kourtzelis applies an integrated set of approaches that include in vitro co-culture assays, preclinical in vivo models, together with the analysis of patient samples to provide a holistic understanding of myeloid cell phenotypic adaptations in human diseases.

Contact us

York Biomedical Research Institute

ybri@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 328845
B/H/002, Department of Biology, Wentworth Way, University of York, York, YO10 5NG
Twitter

Contact us

York Biomedical Research Institute

ybri@york.ac.uk
+44 (0)1904 328845
B/H/002, Department of Biology, Wentworth Way, University of York, York, YO10 5NG
Twitter