Derek McKay, PhD, CAGFPhD in parasitology The Queen's University of Belfast Northern Ireland
Areas of Research
Infection with a parasitic helminth (worm) is a very potent stimulation of the hosts' immune response. We use model systems to assess the nature of the hosts response to the infection and then see to determine if we can use this information to develop novel ways to block inflammation in the intestine.
Macrophages are experts t killing bacteria and sub-types of this immune cell can promote tissue repair after damage. In vitro and in bio models are used to determine if, then how, specific macrophage phenotypes can block inflammation in the colon and promote, or mediate, tissue repair following an injurious insult.
The barrier function of the epithelium is an important of innate immunity in the gut. Using established cell lines, tissues and in vivo model systems we assess the impact of perturbed mitochondrial function on the paracellular and transcellular permeability characteristics of the epithelium, and the interaction of commensal bacteria with the epithelial lining of the gut. Additional studies examine mitochondrial dynamics (fission and fusion) that remodel the mitochondrial network in response to infection with bacteria.
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