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5 minutes with Bart Tummers

Dr Bart Tummers is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences, investigating how dying cells drive inflammation. We took 5 minutes with Bart to learn more about his life within and outside of King's.

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Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

I received my PhD in The Netherlands where I studied Human Papillomaviruses. These viruses have intriguing ways to evade host immune responses and cell death, which contribute to their ability to cause cancer. The complexity of cell death fascinated me and so I went to St. Jude in Memphis, USA, to study how cell death protects us against infections. Turns out, the cell death pathways of apoptosis and necroptosis not only help us battle pathogens, but also influence the way our bodies handle inflammation and cancer. Here at King’s, at the Centre for Inflammation Biology and Cancer Immunology (CIBCI), I investigate how dying cells drive inflammation, and what this means for our health.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

It’s going to get bumpy but hit the throttle. Don’t be afraid, enjoy the ride.

Advice to my current self: Watch more TED Talks.

Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about?

Nature has a place for everything, but we do not always understand why. Humans (and mice) evolved necroptosis, so it must have a biological function. Ablate the genes that mediate necroptosis in mice, and these animals show (much) better survival in many models of infection or sterile disease. So why do we humans preserve this trait, and why did we evolve it in the first place? Necroptosis poses an evolutionary paradox that I want to resolve.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

In a lab meeting with my diverse and enthusiastic lab members, discussing the latest results on how cell death contributes to inflammatory mechanisms.

What do you do with your time outside academia/work?

I play the trumpet, like to cook and enjoy shining shoes.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Being completely settled in London with my wife, son and cat.

What is your favourite thing about working at King’s?

The willingness and opportunities to collaborate.



Favourite season:

Autumn, when the trees start changing colour, but it still is warm enough to go out without a jacket.

Favourite scientist:

All scientists who put discovery over personal gain.

Favourite cuisine:


Coffee order:

Doppio macchiato or Greek freddo cappuccino, both with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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