Within the group we are interested in different aspects of cellular immunology with focus on dendritic cell and macrophage biology, immune-instructive materials, molecular aspects of allergy and immune competent tissue models. We have a particular interest in developing new materials with immune-instructive properties that can be used as novel tools for immunotherapy, vaccination, wound healing and reduction of Foreign Body Response (FBR) against implanted medical devices.
A wide range of techniques are used including primary cell cultures (including dendritic cells, macrophages, bronchial epithelial cells, keratinocytes and fibroblasts), multi-parametric flowcytometry, live cell sorting (magnetic and Fluorescence-activated), gene silencing (siRNA), primary cell transfection, PCR and Western Blotting. We also routinely use 3D synthetic scaffolds and hydrogels for creating biomimetic co-cultures of different cell types.
Ghaemmagahmi group research spans three interdisciplinary themes:
1. Immune modulation and promotion of healing through surface engineering: Using 'Bio-Instructive' materials to modulate the functional properties and differentiation of immune cells (e.g. macrophages and dendritic cells) and other cell types (e.g. epithelial cells and fibroblasts) involved in inflammation, wound healing and fibrosis. Also see
2. Novel immune-competent biomimetic tissue models: Engineering of physiologically relevant tissues for disease modelling, testing drug leads and toxicity experiments.
3. Host - Environment interaction: Elucidating early events at the interface of antigen presenting cells and epithelial cells with airborne allergens/pathogens
Our work has received support from EPSRC, Asthma UK, BBSRC, MRC, NC3Rs and European Commission with excess of £30M funding secured since 2006 as either PI or Co-I.
Main ongoing projects include:
- Local immune-modulation around implants by innovative auxiliary hydrogel-based systems
- Bio-instructive Materials for Immune Modulation
- Modulating macrophage function through surface modification
- Immune modulatory properties of microparticles
- Construction of 3D immune-competent barrier tissue models (skin and lung)
- Novel 3D culture systems for studying innate-adaptive immune cells interaction
- The role of c-type lectin receptors in allergic sensitisation
- IDO activity in human Dendritic cells and epithelial cells
- In vitro models of human lung fibrosis
- Role of mechanosensors in lung fibrosis
- Perfusion bioreactors for epithelial cell culture