Infection of man and animals by large parasites is extremely common throughout the world. This is particularly true for roundworm parasites that live in the intestine with over 1 billion people currently infected with at least one type of roundworm. Infections can be debilitating with children suffering the worst disease. Our research goal is to understand in detail how these parasites are able to survive in infected individuals for so long and why our immune system is unable to remove them from the body. We are also researching into how we need to activate the immune system in order to control these kinds of infections. Our research will help develop better ways of combating these diseases in both man and animals e.g. through the development of vaccines. We also hope to identify the ways that parasites effectively alter immune responses which may open up new ways of treating other diseases where the immune system is over active such as autoimmune diseases like diabetes or allergic diseases such as asthma.
I gained my Batchelor's degree in Zoology at the Univeristy of Nottingham in 1979. I then moved to the University of Glasgow to study for my Ph.D under the supervision of Derek Wakelin at the Wellcome Laboratories for Experimental Parasitology. Following graduation I moved with Derek to the MRC Experimental Parasitology Group, Dept of Zoology,University of Nottingham in 1982 where I undertook postdoctoral research until 1987. In 1987 I was appointed Lecturer in Immunology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester and following promotion to Senior Lecturer and Reader, became Professor of Immunology in 1998.