The immune system must be rapidly activated to eliminate infection, but be tightly regulated to prevent self-harmful immune responses. When this regulation breaks down, severe health problems can occur, such as uncontrolled infection or autoimmune disorders (where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues and organs). My lab aims to identify important cells and molecules that control immune responses in health and disease, especially in mucosal tissues such as the lung and gut.
We study broad mechanisms that regulate the immune system at these sites, but have a long-standing interest in how the cytokine TGF-beta regulates mucosal immunity. Many cells make TGF-beta, but always as an inactive complex, and we have previously identified molecules of the integrin family that are key regulators of mucosal immunity via activation of TGF-beta. Our current work aims to identify processes that regulate TGF-beta activity and function, and how this is altered in infection and disease.
Mark is a Professor of Immunology based in the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation, the Division of Immunology, Immunity to Infection & Respiratory Medicine, and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research.
Mark received a first class honours degree in Biochemistry and Genetics from Lancaster University in 2000, and completed a PhD in protein biochemistry at the University of Manchester in 2004, studying the structure and function of integrin adhesion receptors. He then went to the University of California, San Francisco, as an American Lung Association Fellow, where he worked on the role of integrins and TGF-beta in immune regulation. Mark returned to Manchester as a Royal Commission Fellow in late 2006, before taking up a position as an RCUK Fellow in October 2007. Mark became a Lecturer in 2012, a Senior Lecturer in 2015 and Professor in 2018.