HIV-Macrophage interactions and stem cell technology
The HIV research in our lab is supervised by Dr Kenny Moore, a James Martin Stem Cell Fellow. The macrophage is a key cell in AIDS pathogenesis, and HIV has developed a number of “stealth" mechanisms to circumvent their innate antiviral defences, only some of which are understood. In order to elucidate these mechanisms, we have developed stem cell-based technologies, which enable us to test biological hypotheses in ways that have not been possible before. We have already identified a novel endocytoic pathway in macrophages that is absolutely required for HIV infection, and are investigating its detailed molecular machinery. We are also probing the subsequent steps of the life cycle, in which virus and host cell factors engage in a struggle for dominance.
The stem cell research in our lab is supervised by Dr Sally Cowley, who heads the Oxford Stem Cell Facility. We are using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technology to investigate the biology of macrophages in health and disease, and their defects in genetic diseases such as chronic granulomatous disease. We are also making patient-derived iPS cells in order to study the genetics and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.