Prof. Ann Ager Cardiff University, UK

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Ann Ager gained a PhD from Cambridge University studying inflammatory responses in vascular endothelial cells. After training in microvascular biology with Professor Judah Folkman in Boston, she began her life-long interests in high endothelial venule (HEV) blood vessels and T-cell trafficking as a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Bill Ford at... read morethe University of Manchester. Ann gained an MRC Senior Fellowship before moving to a Senior Scientist position at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London in 1992 where she began working on the homing receptor L-selectin/CD62L and its role in disease. In 2007, Ann moved to Cardiff University as Reader and was awarded a personal chair in 2018.

Ann Ager studies how T-cells move around the body to protect against virus infections, control cancer progression, and contribute to neurodegeneration, such as in Alzheimer’s disease. A major focus has been the regulation of L-selectin/CD62L expression by T lymphocytes and its impact on physiological and pathological T-cell trafficking via specialized high endothelial venule (HEV) and inflamed blood vessels. Unique reagents, experimental animal models, and cell-based assays have been developed to study T-cell trafficking and have overturned dogma. Specifically, the role of L-selectin on tissue infiltrating T-cells has been overlooked because of its’ instability in the T-cell membrane due to proteolytic ectodomain shedding by ADAM17 metalloproteinase. These studies have shown that L-selectin is essential to deliver killer T-cells to influenza-infected lungs for protective immunity. Moreover, these studies have revealed important, non-homing related roles for L-selectin in T-cell immunity to cancers and the translational potential of arming T-cells with L-selectin to boost immunity to cancers.