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Jelena Bezbradica Mirkovic

PhD


Associate Professor

  • KTRR Senior Research Fellow

I am a Senior Research Fellow of the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research (KTRR) and an MRC New Investigator at the University of Oxford.

My research goal is to elucidate mechanisms that control the initiation and duration of inflammatory responses in innate immune cells. To accomplish this goal, we study innate sensing and signalling in myeloid cells, such as macrophages, as these cells typically initiate the inflammatory response. Our group investigates how innate cells integrate signals from cytokines (which report on infection or tissue injury) with signals from microbial and tissue-damage sensors to direct the most appropriate effector response.

The NLRP3 inflammasome is one such critical sensor of cell and tissue homeostasis that becomes activated in response to pathogen- or tissue-derived danger signals. While beneficial during infections and vaccinations, excessive and uncontrolled NLRP3 activity contributes to the development of several inherited diseases such as Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes (CAPS), or acquired, non-communicable and lifestyle-related inflammatory diseases, such as Arthritis, Gout, or aging-associated inflammation and functional decline. Hence, we study how the NLRP3 pathway activity is ‘turned on and off’ in healthy individuals to be able to harness this knowledge for future therapeutic interventions allowing control over inflammasome response.

I earned my Ph.D. degree with Professor Sebastian Joyce at Vanderbilt University, USA. I continued my research training as a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow with Professor Ruslan Medzhitov at Yale University, USA, and with Professor Kate Schroder at The University of Queensland, Australia. I joined the Kennedy Institute in 2016.