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DpHIL Start date

1 October 2015

Project title

Optimization of cellular therapies for transplantation


Dr Joanna Hester, Dr Fadi Issa, Professor Kathryn Wood

Rebeca Arroyo Hornero

BSc (Hons)

DPhil student

I obtained a first class honours degree from the University of Murcia, where my undergraduate research project focused on the role of methylation in the Rho2 GTPase activity in the fission yeast S. pombe, under the supervision of Professor Jose Cansado Vizoso. After completing my BSc, I joined Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya’s group at the University of Oxford, to undertake an internship in synthetic biology working in optimizing the galactose promoter and cyclopeptide expression regulated by two hybrid system in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae. I then moved to Professor Kathryn Wood’s group where I worked as a research assistant, testing the effect of immunosuppressive drugs in diverse human regulatory cell populations.

I am currently a second year DPhil student within the Transplant Research Immunology Group headed by Professor Kathryn Wood. My research focuses on optimizing cellular therapies for transplantation. Solid organ transplantation currently represents the best treatment for patients with terminal organ failure. Although current immunosuppressive drugs have been successful in reducing the incidence of acute rejection, they result in severe toxic side-effects such as malignancy, cardiovascular disease and nephrotoxicity. Understanding natural immune mechanisms that promote transplant tolerance without rendering the immune system impotent may lead to the development of safer therapies. I am particularly interested in regulatory T cells, and their potential to be used as a cell therapy in transplant patients.