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The immune system

This category contains 16 posts

Building a blood factory

On 29 September the University put on its largest-ever public engagement activity across several locations and well into the evening.  The Curiosity Carnival aimed to engage people from all over Oxford in the exciting and varied research that goes on within the University.  Dannielle Wellington, a postdoc in the Dong lab, spent the last 4 … Continue reading

Sensing viruses: shape matters

Viruses are basically packets of nucleic acid, DNA or it’s sister molecule RNA. Our cells have therefore evolved to recognise these molecules as a sign of virus infection. A recent study from Jan Rehwinkel’s lab in the MRC Human Immunology Unit has revealed a new way in which cells sense and respond to invading viruses. … Continue reading

The slimy jelly that helps us respond to infection

A fully functioning immune system is dependent on good communication between many different types of cell. We know that one set of cells detects damage and infection, while another leaps into action to defend the body. But we weren’t entirely clear how the two ‘talked’ to each other. In this blog, Prof David Jackson and … Continue reading

INTERFERing: the immune responses helping cancer cells resist treatment

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy generally work by causing damage to the DNA of cancer cells. Unfortunately, cancer cells can become resistant to this DNA damage and therefore resistant to the treatments. Recent collaborative research in the WIMM between labs in the Department of Oncology and the MRC Human Immunology Unit sheds light on … Continue reading

Multiple Sclerosis – Action and Reaction

Brain Diaries is an exhibition and series of events organised by the Oxford Museum of Natural History in partnership with Oxford Neuroscience. The aim is to show the public how the latest neuroscientific research is transforming what we understand about our brain – from birth to the end of life.  In order to celebrate the … Continue reading

Cells have a skeleton, and a very clever way of organising it

Just like humans, each of our cells have a skeleton in order to maintain their shape. Up until recently, we didn’t have the ability to see their skeleton in great detail. But with new technology creating ever-more powerful microscopes, we can now see the skeleton and the patterns it creates to maintain the cell’s structure. … Continue reading

A Not-So-Special Delivery: Zika Virus in its Envelope

In the first WIMM blog post of 2017, Layal Liverpool and Antonio Gregorio Dias Jr (two DPhil students working in the MRC Human Immunology Unit) describe how our understanding of the dengue virus could hold the key to developing a vaccine for Zika. This article was originally published by Science Innovation Union.  “Deu zika!” is a … Continue reading

Pinch by pinch

What does your genome have in common with a Michelin-starred chef? Find out in this article by Yale Michaels, a DPhil student in Tudor Fulga’s lab, written for the MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award.  You have always dreamt of becoming chef de cuisine at a Michelin-starred restaurant. You started sweeping floors and peeling potatoes and have worked … Continue reading

Scratching the itch: towards a new treatment for eczema

Atopic dermatitis is a common form of eczema that affects millions of people worldwide, and for which there is currently no cure. Characterised by dry skin sometimes over the entire body, and intensely itchy lesions in places such as the knees and elbows, the condition makes life extremely uncomfortable for the many people that suffer … Continue reading

From stem cell to specialized cell: but what happens in between?

Stem cells have the remarkable ability to develop into a whole host of highly specialized cell types, but the process by which this happens is extremely transient and therefore enormously challenging to study. However, a new paper from Claus Nerlov’s and Sten Eirik Jacobsen’s labs, published in Nature Cell Biology two weeks ago, is one of … Continue reading

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