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News about TRIG:

ONE Study article

An article on The ONE Study, an EU funded project in which TRIG are consortium members, has been featured on the European Commission's Horizon 2020 website.  The article, entitled 'The ONE Study: re-educating the immune system' can be found here.

For more information on the study please visit The ONE Study website.

TRIG welcomes new group members

We are pleased to welcome several new members to TRIG;

Davide Franchina – Davide joined us in November 2015 as a Research Assistant for a year working primarily on the ONE Study (  He plans to undertake a DPhil in October 2016.  Davide previously undertook a Masters in medical biotechnology and molecular medicine at the University of Milan. His interest is in T regulatory cell biology in immune regulation.

Francisco Cano Romero – Fran joined us from Madrid, in January 2016, for a 3 month period as a visiting researcher. He is a clinical chemistry resident at the Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid where he is also studying for a PhD in transplant immunology.  Whilst he is here, Fran will be undertaking the immune phenotyping of a cohort of transplant samples.

Prateek Katti – Prateek is a student on the NIH Oxford – Cambridge Scholars Program studying for a DPhil (joined Oct 2015).  The Program was set up to allow American students to engage in collaborative PhD research at NIH and Oxford (or Cambridge) in order to receive a University of Oxford degree.  Prateek, who will divide his time between Oxford and the US (at the NIH Center for Interventional Oncology) over the next four years, is researching the varying immune responses to minimally invasive tumour ablation.

Nizar Touati – Nizar joins us for 6 months on an Erasmus internship from the University of Paris Pierre et Marie Curie Pasteur Institute where he has just completed the third year of medical school and is now undertaking a Master 2 Degree in Immunology and Immunopathology.  Whilst he is here, Nizar will be studying human T regs and their function, particularly in relation to IL-1RII as expressed by Treg.

Will Petchey – Will has joined us on a part time basis to work on the ONE Study.  He will be assisting with the clinical activities of the study at the Oxford Transplant Centre.

Elmi Muller's talk on HIV positive to Postive transplantion

Elmi Muller has been a visitor to TRIG since autumn 2015 and has now returned to her post in the University of Cape Town, Groote Schuur Hospital.  Whilst she was here, Elmi gave a NDS Grand Round Surgical Lecture entitled "HIV positive to postive transplantation - changing practices around the world".  You can view the lecture on the University "you tube" channel here

Kathryn Wood - taking science into schools

Kathryn Wood recently took part in an outreach symposium organised by the Oxford International Biomedical Centre (OIBC).  The meeting was held on 4th November 2015 at Deptford Green School in Lewisham and was attended by year 9/10 pupils from around 6 different schools.  The programme which was entitled " Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine" featured speakers from Imperial College (Wei Cui) and King's College London (Ignacio Sancho-Martinez) as well as Kathryn.  The pupils took part in breakout discussion sessions and a general debate was held at the end.

Fadi Issa talks about Burns on Radio Oxford

As part of National Burns Awareness Day on 21st October 2015, Fadi took part in an interview on BBC Radio Oxford where he discussed both how to treat burns and his research into the effects of burns, which is sponsored by RESTORE, the burns and wound charity.

Listen to the interview on the BBC iPlayer


TRIG welcomes Dr Elmi muller

Dr Elmi Muller has joined TRIG for just over 3 months, until early January 2016 having successfully secured a Newton International Exchange scheme award. 

Dr Muller is a General Surgeon who has been working in the field of Transplantation since 2005. She has an active interest in promoting organ donation and transplantation and was the TTS councillor for the Middle East/Africa region between 2010 and 2014 and is currently the President of the Southern African Transplantation Society and on the executive council of TTS.  Elmi has been involved in many transplant-related outreach and educational programmes for the public and medical profession in South Africa.  She also does outreach work in Africa through the ISN Educational Ambassador’s programme.

In 2008 she initiated a Donation after Cardiac Death programme as well as a transplant programme for HIV positive patients utilizing HIV positive donors at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.   She was featured in The Lancet in 2012 under the title: ‘Elmi Muller; bending rules, changing guidelines, making history.’  Her interest is in HIV transplantation and the immunological response of HIV positive recipients after they receive these transplants. She is also driving research projects to look at the impact of the second viral strain after receiving a kidney from a HIV positive donor.

Kathryn Wood awarded visiting professorship

Professor Kathryn Wood has been awarded a visiting professorship from the National University Centre for Organ Transplantation (NUCOT) at the National University Hospital in Singapore. The appointment will officially commence in October 2015 for a term of five years.  For more information visit the NDS news page where Kathryn talks about her role.

Manipulation of the immune system for skin grafts

TRIG member Fadi Issa is investigating ways to help patients with extensive burns that need skin grafts. By understanding how regulatory T cells may act to regulate immune responses, Fadi's work has focused on harnessing the power of these cells to prevent the rejection of skin grafts.  Fadi is a Duke of Kent Research Fellow with RESTORE - the burns and wounds charity.  Read more about his work with them on the new RESTORE website:

Fadi Issa wins the academic session prize at the oxford surgical symposium

Congratulations to Fadi Issa who was awarded the prize for the best presentation in the Academic Session at the recently held Oxford Surgical Symposium.  Fadi presented data on "Prevention of human skin rejection by selective blockade of CD28 costimulatory signalling"  (Fadi Issa, Masaaki Zaitsu, Joanna Hester, Kate Milward, Bernard Vanhove, Kathryn Wood).

Liz Wallin talks to kruk about her research

Liz Wallin, a DPhil student in TRIG, who is supported by Kidney Research UK (KRUK) is featured in the latest edition of the KRUK newsletter talking about her research project and its implications.

Liz hopes her work will enable her and others to understand better the processes that may cause transplant rejection. Liz is analysing blood and tissue samples in the lab and comparing them with clinical data such as new kidney function and possible episodes of infection and rejection.  Eventually, Liz's work could also lead to new ways to predict who may be at risk of transplant failure.

Read the full article here

Kidney Research UK logo

The TRIAD project

The TRIAD project is featured on the HORIZON 2020 news page in an article entitled "Taking targeted autoimmune therapies to the next level "

TRIG was a consortium partner in TRIAD, an EU funded project which led to the preclinical development of the novel drug FR104.   The drug is now going through clinical trials, leading, it is hoped, to eventual commercialisation.   Read the full article here

Sushma ShankAR wins prestigious award

Many congratulations to Sushma Shankar who was awarded the Medawar Medal for best scientific presentation at the recent Joint British Transplantation Society and Nederlandse Transplantatie Vereniging Congress which was held in Bournemouth on 11 – 13th March 2015.

Sushma won this prestigious award for her presentation of:  “B cells from a tolerant environment can control a T cell allograft response in an antigen specific, IL-10 dependent mechanism”  by Jessica Stolp; Masaaki Zaitsu; Sushma Shankar and Kathryn Wood.

Site visit by Kidney research uk

Representatives from Kidney Research UK (KRUK) visited the group on 20th Feb 2015 to hear about the research being conducted by two members who are currently supported by the charity;  Dr Joanna Hester,  a KRUK Senior Research Fellow and Dr Liz Wallin, who has a Research Training Fellowship.   

Joanna  presented data on "Regulatory T Cells and Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Transplantation" and Liz "The Germinal Centre Reaction in Alloantibody Formation". Andrew Bushell gave an overview of the work of the group.  Other researchers supported by KRUK, from Professor Rajesh Thakker's group also took part in the day: Dr Sian Piret spoke about "The role of Uromodulin in familial juvenile hyperuricaemic nephropathy (FJHN)" and Ms Charlotte Philpott "Dent's disease Type 1".   Elaine Foster from the Charity spoke about its work and exciting new future initiatives.

TRIG wish to thank KRUK for its continued support.

Kidney Research UK logo

An Interview with Kathryn Wood about the TTS Women in Transplantation Initiative (WIT) and the Importance of Mentorship


Kathryn Wood is the founder of the TTS Women in Transplantation initiative which looks to create and cultivate the relationships necessary to enable today’s women to reach their full potential in the field of transplantation.  As part of the initiative, Kathryn instigated the WIT mentoring scheme which was subsequently developed and led by Monica Dolton, her Executive Assistant. During the recent WTC 2014 meeting in San Francisco, Kathryn was interviewed about the WIT initiative and the importance of mentoring.   If you would like to listen to the interviews please follow this link:

Wellcome Trust DPhil in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine

This programme delivers novel, integrated graduate training in infection and immunology within a translational medicine context. It provides the opportunity for research in the basic biomedical sciences of infectious diseases, the innate and acquired immune system and the development and use of therapeutic drugs and vaccines. It consists of a one-year modular course followed by a three-year doctoral research project, which can take place in any of the participating departments at the University.

For further information please follow this link:

Kate Milward wins the Sir Roy Calne Award 2014

Kate Milward, a DPhil student in TRIG, has won the prestigious Sir Roy Calne Award at BTS 2014.  The award was made for her paper:

Multiple Unit Pooled Umbilical Cord Blood is a Viable Source of Therapeutic Regulatory T Cells.     Milward, Kate; Issa, Fadi; Hester, Joanna; Figueroa-Tentori, Daniel; Madrigal, Alejandro; Wood, Kathryn J.    Transplantation: 15 January 2013 - Volume 95 - Issue 1 - p 85-93    doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e31827722ed

Read the journal article here

Kate and Dr Fadi Issa also feature in a video introducing the paper. 

Watch the video: Introduction by Miss Millward and Dr Issa on article published in 15th January 2013 issue