Immunology

The Immunology Theme studies chronic immune disorders that have a significant health and economic burden due to their potential to cause organ failure and the requirement for complex immunosuppression protocols. We aim to ensure timely and accurate diagnosis; to fully optimise immunosuppression treatment; and to explore novel therapeutics.

We have funding available to provide flexible salary support for excellent trainees, committed to pursuing an academic research career, where there is a clear path to ongoing academic training.  Please download the guidance and Application form. Deadline is 28th June 24. 

Why is this Research Needed

Our Theme focuses on diseases relevant to our local population grouped into (i) antibody-mediated disorders; (ii) thrombo-inflammation; (iii) glomerulonephritis and (iv) renal transplantation. We combine the world-leading immunology and inflammation expertise within the academic Centres for Inflammatory Disease and Haematology with the translational research expertise of our multidisciplinary Clinical Centres. The Theme sits within Imperial College’s Department of Immunology and Inflammation – news updates from the Department can be found here.

Theme Aims
  • Precision medicine for immune thrombocytopenia and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus to improve diagnostics; treatment pathways; and clinical outcome.
  • Identify molecular signatures of disease relapse in Giant Cell Arteritis
  • Define the role of endothelial dysfunction in the development of vascular disease in Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome
  • Utilise diagnostic renal pathology to develop novel biomarkers in glomerulonephritis
  • Optimise outcome in renal transplantation by personalised drug treatments derived from the individual risk of rejection and the development of non-invasive diagnostic tests, a patient-defined priority.

The detailed Theme objectives can be found here.

Upcoming /Ongoing Projects within the Theme

We have exciting pilot projects led by our early-stage researchers and all focus on improving the outcome of patients with these conditions. These projects include:

  • Can T-cell receptor sequencing and gene expression profiling deliver personalised therapy in Immune Thrombocytopenia? Led by Dr Amna Malik, supervised by Dr Nicola Cooper
  • Endothelial dysfunction in thrombotic autoimmune disorders Led by Dr Deepa Arachchillage
  • Optimizing B cell therapy response in lupus through comprehensive characterization of peripheral blood immune cells. Led by Dr Norzawani Buang and supervised by Dr Peters and Prof Matthew Pickering
  • Spatial Transcriptomic analysis of temporal artery biopsies to identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers in Giant Cell Arteritis. Led by Dr Robert Maughan and supervised by Dr James Peters
  • Identifying Novel Treatment Targets in Minimal Change Disease. Led by Dr Charli Seneschall and supervised by Profs Megan Griffith and Matthew Pickering
  • Clinical Implementation of New Markers of Kidney Disease. Led by Dr Candice Roufosse.
  • Spatial Transcriptomics for the Investigation of Antibody-Mediated Injury in Kidney Transplants. Led by Dr Candice Roufosse.

We have extensive expertise in Kidney Transplantation led by Drs Michelle Willicombe and Candice Roufosse and our work is internationally recognised for developing biomarkers of kidney rejection risk, with several publications on transcript analysis of biopsy material to improve diagnosis, on the clinical impact of allo-sensitisation following blood transfusion, and on the characterisation and effects of de novo development of antibodies against the transplant. Work is now focussing on translating risk markers and new biomarkers into clinical diagnostic tools via clinical trials and international collaborations (www.icdot.org) (https://banfffoundation.org/). Our remit also includes investigations of radiological features of rejection (flow-MRA), the role of autoimmunity in rejection, and other non-invasive biomarkers of rejection, a key priority for patients. Through collaboration with the Digital Health theme, we are also exploring machine learning applications in digital pathology to improve diagnosis, with a strong focus on patient involvement.

Patient and Public Involvement, Engagement and Participation

We have recruited Community Partners with lived experience of the conditions within our Theme and held our first meeting on the 28th of June 2023. Our partners will help co-produce our research and provide expertise in the patient perspective on all our translational research initiatives. We hold specific events on PPIE and a recent example is “Digital Pathology and AI: Learning what matters to patients who have undergone a kidney transplant

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Our researchers are based in the Department of Immunology and Inflammation and the department has an active EDI committee

The Department of Immunology and Inflammation holds an Athena Swan Silver Award and our mission statement is to create a diverse, inclusive and supportive academic community committed to promoting scientific excellence and nurturing the next generation of researchers. The principles we adhere to are Transparency and consistency, Equality and diversity, Professional behaviour and Scientific integrity

Our Community Partners

In accordance with the Imperial BRC’s PPIEP Strategy , our theme has recruited a group of Community Partners to act as critical friends to our theme and share their valuable lived experience with our researchers and health professionals to help improve the relevance and quality of our research for the benefit of our North West London population.

Benjamin Ward
Benjamin Ward
I am a director at a human rights charity, a former school governor, and current ITP patient at Hammersmith Hospital.’

Benjamin Ward

Sarita Khurana
Sarita Khurana
‘I was on haemodialysis from 2003 till I had my renal transplant in 2013, through Pair & Pool scheme. I am currently Chair of West London KPA and also an Executive Committee member with National Kidney Federation.

Sarita Khurana


The Theme sits within Imperial College’s Department of Immunology and Inflammation – news updates from the Department can be found here.

Key Individuals
  • Dr Nichola Cooper
    Dr Nichola Cooper
    Theme Lead, Immunology
  • Professor Matthew Pickering
    Professor Matthew Pickering
    Theme Lead, Immunology
  • Dr Amna Malik
    Dr Amna Malik
    Research Associate - Theme Committee Member
  • Dr Candice Roufosse
    Dr Candice Roufosse
    Clinical Reader in Renal Pathology - Theme Committee Member
  • Dr Deepa Jayakody Arachchillage
    Dr Deepa Jayakody Arachchillage
    Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer - Theme Committee Member
  • Dr Jessica Strid
    Dr Jessica Strid
    Professor of Cellular Immunology
  • Dr Maria Prendecki
    Dr Maria Prendecki
    Clinical Lecturer - Theme Committee Member
  • Dr Megan Griffith
    Dr Megan Griffith
    Consultant Nephrologist
  • Dr Michelle Willicombe
    Dr Michelle Willicombe
    Clinical Reader in Renal Pathology - Theme Committee Member
  • Dr Nicholas Medjeral-Thomas
    Dr Nicholas Medjeral-Thomas
    Honorary Clinical Research Fellow - Theme Committee Member
  • Dr Stephen McAdoo
    Dr Stephen McAdoo
    Consultant Nephrologist and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Tom Cairns
    Dr Tom Cairns
    Consultant Nephrologist
  • Professor Frederick Tam
    Professor Frederick Tam
    Ken and Mary Minton Chair of Renal Medicine / Consultant Nephrologist
  • Professor Liz Lightstone
    Professor Liz Lightstone
    Professor of Renal Medicine
  • Professor Marina Botto
    Professor Marina Botto
    Professor of Rheumatology
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