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Dr Amy Cross is a Postdoctoral Scientist in the Transplantation Research and Immunology Group (Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences). She discusses her project and benefits she has drawn from her experience as an Oxford-Celgene Fellow.

Image credit: Medical Sciences Division and John Cairns

What is your research background?

My background is in immunology and transplantation. I obtained my PhD in Immunology from the Université Paris Diderot in France, where I explored the contribution of the allograft endothelium to transplant rejection. For my thesis, I used in vitro assays to determine how donor-specific antibodies and inflammation disrupt T lymphocyte polarisation and promote a pro-inflammatory phenotype.  

What are you researching now?

From basic science to translational studies, I am currently part of the Transplantation Research and Immunology Group (TRIG) in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS). Together with my Celgene mentor Dr Niranjana Nagarajan and my Oxford supervisors Dr Joanna Hester and Dr Fadi Issa, we are aiming to combine IL-2 based therapies with the transfer of ex vivo expanded regulatory T cells (Tregs) to prevent rejection in transplantation.  

What has your experience of this Fellowship been like?

So far, this fellowship is a great opportunity to work with and learn from leaders in industry and academia.  This partnership that really strengthens the quality and impact of the science produced.   Also, the partnerships team arrange great events and workshops to learn more about industry.     

What are your aspirations for the future of this research?

Ongoing trials are assessing the efficacy of Treg transfer in preventing rejection, but the therapy is complicated by the need for high cell numbers and current immunosuppressive regimens may impair Treg survival and function.   This work will help to further our understanding of Treg/IL-2 therapeutics and may lay the groundwork for validation in future clinical trials to improve transplantation outcomes.  

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