Prof. Kevin Maloy University of Glasgow, UK2 Talks
Kevin Maloy has a broad background in mucosal immunology that dates back to PhD studies at the University of Glasgow, working with Prof. Allan Mowat, on a project analysing a novel class of oral vaccine vectors. Dr. Maloy’s expertise in cellular immunology was enhanced during post-doctoral training with Profs. Rolf... read moreZinkernagel and Hans Hengartner at the University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland, developing an interest in immunity to infections. Thereafter, Dr. Maloy returned to the UK to work with Dr. Fiona Powrie at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, studying the regulation of the host immune responses in the intestine. Kevin Maloy was subsequently awarded a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, allowing a development of a research group to study host-pathogen interactions in the gut. In 2008 Dr. Maloy took up the post of Lecturer in Experimental Pathology at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, which was associated with a Tutorial Fellowship in Medicine at Oriel College. In 2018, Dr. Maloy moved back to the University of Glasgow to take up the post of Professor of Mucosal Immunology. The research interests of Dr. Maloy’s group lie in understanding how innate immune responses are controlled in the intestine and on how host-pathogen interactions influence intestinal homeostasis. Kevin Maloy has a particular interest in innate immunity in the intestine as polymorphisms of innate immune receptor genes have been implicated in susceptibility to human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). To study the regulation of innate immunity in the gut, they have established several experimental models of intestinal inflammation induced by infection of mice with intestinal bacterial pathogens. They have demonstrated that innate immune activation plays a central role in IBD pathogenesis and have identified novel cellular and molecular contributors. This includes characterization of the important role of the IL-23/Th17 axis in IBD pathology and discovery of a population of innate lymphoid cells (ILC) that contribute to protection and pathology in the gut. More recently, Dr. Maloy’s group has focussed on the regulation of intestinal homeostasis by pattern recognition receptors (PRR), innate immune receptors that recognise highly conserved microbial associated molecules. A second research focus is autophagy - a conserved cellular response to infection or stress that can facilitate degradation of intracellular organelles or pathogens. They have been looking at the effects of ablation of autophagy in distinct cell types on intestinal immune homeostasis. They aim to further define how innate immune pathways in distinct cellular compartments control protective and pathogenic immune responses in the intestine. They also aim to identify how pathogen interactions with host cells result in the activation of innate inflammatory circuits in the gut and how these may be regulated by the host, or by exogenous signals derived from the microbiota. Understanding these issues should help us answer the fundamental question of how the mammalian host is able to discriminate between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract. These studies should also help us to refine therapeutic approaches to control chronic immune pathology in the gut and may also reveal ways of boosting mucosal barrier defences in immune-suppressed individuals.