Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Deciphering the biology of resident vascular macrophages in atherosclerosis
My research interest lies in characterising macrophage heterogeneity and exploiting macrophage behaviours to alleviate cardiometabolic diseases. In September 2021, I was awarded a Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to pursue my research, with Professor Claudia Monaco (Kennedy Institute), Dr Alexey Epanchintsev (Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford), Professor Irina Udalova (Kennedy Institute) and Professor Paul Riley (Institute of Developmental and Regenerative Medicine). My project aims to investigate the molecular mechanisms of vascular macrophages and their interactions with vascular cells that could be exploited to target atherosclerosis. Using single-cell transcriptomic data of immune cells from human and murine atherosclerotic tissues, I am investigating novel candidate molecules that define homeostatic functions of macrophages. The validation of the targets will utilise iPSC-derived macrophages, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, human vascular tissues, and in vivo mouse models.
Prior to my fellowship, I completed a DPhil in Molecular and Cellular Medicine at the University of Oxford in 2019, after obtaining a Master’s degree in Biomedicine from University College London. My DPhil project focussed on understanding how a C-type lectin receptor CLEC4A2 directs macrophages towards a protective function in atherosclerosis. In this study, I identified CLEC4A2 as a regulator of vascular macrophage homeostasis, restraining inflammation and facilitating cholesterol efflux during atherogenesis. As part of my project, I generated a comprehensive atlas of vascular immune cells in atherosclerotic mice using mass cytometry and single cell RNA sequencing.
With access to the facilities and expertise at Novo Nordisk and my experience in the field of macrophages in vascular diseases, I would like to build on my own research linking immunology and metabolism in macrophages and identifying therapeutic targets for translational application in the clinic.