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DPHIL START DATE

5 October 2020

PROJECT TITLE

Investigation into the interactions between regulatory T cells and myeloid cells in the development of immunological tolerance

SUPERVISORS

Dr Fadi Issa and Dr Joanna Hester

Nora Atallah

BSc, MSc


DPhil student

Currently, I am a first year DPhil student in the Transplantation Research Immunology Group (TRIG). My research project focuses on investigating the interactions between regulatory T cells (Tregs) and myeloid cells in the development of immunological tolerance. Tregs are a subset of T cells with regulatory characteristics, and their ability to suppress allogeneic immune responses has made them a promising candidate for cellular therapy in transplant rejection. Tregs are currently being tested as a potential therapeutic for kidney transplant recipients in the TWO Study, a phase II clinical study ongoing in Oxford. 

Myeloid cells can play pro- or anti-inflammatory roles in the immune response depending on their subtype, developmental stage and history of activation. Importantly, a specialized population of suppressive myeloid cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, has been associated with long-term graft survival in transplantation in rodent models but their role in transplant tolerance in humans is unclear.

Therefore, the pathways that engage the natural regulatory mechanism of the immune system have been the subject of intensive investigation with the ultimate goal of binding these pathways to achieve operational tolerance to donor alloantigens – long-term graft survival without the need for prolonged immunosuppressive therapy.  

I completed my Bachelor degree in Biochemistry at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. After my graduation, I worked as a Research Technologist at different laboratories such as the Stem Cell Therapy Lab at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, and the Cord Blood Bank at King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), National Guard Hospital, Saudi Arabia, for several years. In the meanwhile, I obtained my Master's degree in Health Informatics at King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences as I am interested in the intelligent use of information and technology and its application to science. I also hold another passion for Immunology, so I finally joined the Immunology group at KAIMRC, and worked hard to pursue my dream.