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The start of the year saw Nizar Touati join the Transplantation Research Immunology Group (TRIG) directed by Professor Kathryn Wood at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, as part of a Master of Science traineeship.

Intern joins the transplantation research immunology group

During the six month placement, Nizar, who is a medical student at the University of Paris Pierre and Marie Curie, is working alongside Postdoctoral Scientist Dr Joanna Hester on a research project studying the molecular and cellular abilities of regulatory T cells (Tregs) to modulate immune responses and in particular evaluate their role in rejection of transplanted organs.

From a clinical translation perspective using Treg cell therapy for the organ transplantation, the team is trying to understand better how Treg cells are able to induce tolerance to donor antigens among transplanted patients, in order to improve significantly their quality of life and long term graft survival.

Nizar comments: ‘I am really interested in the immune mechanisms underlying tolerance and rejection of transplanted organs and I am trying to better understand the molecular and cellular interactions between effector immune cells and T regulatory cells in the particular context of a graft microenvironment.

‘TRIG is a perfect laboratory to undertake a research project and to fully focus on it. Oxford is a really nice place to work and to do research.’

He continues: ‘I really think that research is essential to make progress in medicine and that they are complementary to each other. That is why I am performing a double programme allowing me to learn and to do both research and medicine.’

Learn more about the work of TRIG.