The University of Manchester is home to basic, clinical and translational innovation at the interface of infection, immunity, inflammation and repair. Our researchers are world-leaders in the field of chronic lung conditions, dermatology, musculoskeletal disease and complex wounds.
Each individual cell in our body integrates signals from the local tissue microenvironment, mechanical and chemical stimulation or inhibition, input from the nervous and endocrine systems, and signals from extracellular matrix components.
This is a dynamic environment that adapts to disturbances such as infections, environmental cues, inherited disorders, autoimmunity and malignant transformation.
“We have all the expertise to integrate complex biological processes into our fundamental understanding of health and disease.”
Some people may develop self-limiting disturbances with spontaneous tissue repairs, whereas others develop chronic conditions that have long term pathological consequences.
The University is home to all of the expertise necessary to integrate these complex biological processes into our fundamental understanding of health and disease for the benefit of patients.
Collaborative research with impact
Our close interactions with industry and the extensive patient cohorts within associated NHS trusts present us with a unique ability to perform world-leading translational research.
Our close partnerships with the University Hospital of South Manchester, Salford Royal and Manchester Royal Infirmary ensures collaborative research brings discoveries from the laboratory bench to the bedside, and vice versa.
These excellent clinical links help to improve the treatment, management and care of patients with inflammatory disease.
Centres of excellence
We are home to a number of charity and industry-funded centres of excellence:
Major research activities
Infectious disease is still a major cause of human death, yet antimicrobial drugs are becoming less and less effective.
Our research into fungal, bacterial and parasitic infection is discovering new ways to prevent and treat infection.
We have extensive immunology experience at The University of Manchester. For the first time, this is being drawn together into a new, multidisciplinary research institute – The Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology.
We work in partnership with our local and national stakeholders to adopt a system-wide approach to the discovery, development and delivery of innovation in P4 medicine in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.
See a selection of current research projects, which aim to make a positive impact on health and disease both nationally and globally.
Phenotyping immune responses in asthma and respiratory infections - a systems approach to understanding changes from childhood to adulthood
Lead: Professor Angela Simpson
This study will combine world-leading expertise in infection and immunity, a population based birth cohort study and computational analysis to identify novel mechanisms related to increased susceptibility to asthma, allergies and respiratory tract infections.
The effect of denosumab on pain and bone marrow lesions in systematic knee osteoarthritis: A randomised double-blind placebo controlled trial
Lead: Professor Terence O’Neill
This research study aims to determine whether denosumab, a drug used in the treatment of osteoporosis, can reduce the severity of knee pain and bone marrow changes in patients with osteoarthritis
Macrophage provenance, proliferation and plasticity in nematode infection
Lead: Professor Judi Allen
This study will advance our understanding of immunity to filariasis – a family of diseases that currently infects over 120 million people, with about 40 million disfigured and incapacitated by the disease. Filariasis is a parasitic disease caused by an infection with roundworms.
A genome-scale census of virulence factors in the major mould pathogen of human lungs.
Lead: Dr Elaine Bignell
Infectious diseases caused by fungi are a worldwide problem causing at least as many deaths as malaria and tuberculosis. The aim of this study is to develop new antifungal treatments for these conditions.
Determining a novel pathway that controls TGF-beta activation in the immune system
Lead: Mark Travis
In order to determine how our immune system maintains health, it is essential that the underlying biological mechanisms that regulate immune responses are understood.
This project will have an important impact in this area by identifying and characterising important cellular and molecular mechanisms that control how immune cells communicate.
Lead: Professor Wendy Thomson
The aim of the study is to identify factors that may be involved in the development of childhood arthritis and to identify factors that may help in the prediction of the long- term outcome of the illness.
A ‘universal’ influenza vaccine through synthetic, dendritic cell-targeted, self-replicating RNA vaccines
Lead: Professor Nicola Tirelli
The most effective way to prevent influenza is vaccination, although the vaccine among the elderly reduces severe illness and complication by only up to 60%.
The aim of this study is to enhance the efficacy of vaccine delivery for breadth and duration of protection.
Meet our director and find out more about how some of our researchers contribute to research in infection, immunity, inflammation and repair.
Professor Tracy Hussell PhD
Professor of Inflammatory Disease
Professor Hussell is Director of the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR), which brings together researchers from across the Faculty with investment from GlaxoSmithKline to addresses current priorities in inflammation research.
Her own research focuses on lung immunity in health and disease.
Professor Judi Allen
Professor of Immunobiology
Judi is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust and is particularly interested in macrophages activated in the ‘type 2’ cytokine environment.
Professor Jorgen Vestbo
Professor of Respiratory Medicine
Jorgen focuses on clinical epidemiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the management of this disease, including the impact on treatment on the natural history of COPD.
Dr Joanne Konkel
David Phillips Fellow
Joanne is funded through a BBSRC Sir David Phillips Fellowship. Her research programme focuses on understanding how the immune system is tailored to these unique barrier surfaces.
Professor Dan Davis
Professor of Immunology
Daniel’s lab uses microscopes to learn, by watching, how immune cells detect and kill diseased cells. Funded by the Wellcome Trust he helped discover new cell structures; the immune synapse and membrane nanotubes.
Journal / Diminished airway macrophage expression of the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase is associated with defective efferocytosis in asthma.
Article / Local amplifiers of IL-4Rα-mediated macrophage activation promote repair in lung and liver.
Article / On-going mechanical damage from mastication drives homeostatic Th17 cell responses at the oral barrier.
We are strongly committed to the training and education of our future scientists.
Many of our principal investigators are members of flagship PhD programmes within the Faculty:
- Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership
- BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (including CASE Studentships)
- EPSRC and MRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Regenerative Medicine