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Alumni from the Taams group 

Davide Bommarito

Davide studied diagnostic biotechnology and medical biotechnology at University of Florence Medical School in Italy. There he undertook projects in both clinical immunology and cancer immunology studying the role of cytokines in promoting Th17 cell differentiation and the effect of hypoxia on human prostate cancer progression. He then completed a 2 year research project in USA investigating the ability of haematologic malignancies to evade the immune system. In July 2013 Davide started as a BTcure funded PhD researcher under supervision of Dr Valerie Corrigall and Dr Leonie Taams and completed his PhD in October 2017

Ceri Roberts

Ceri completed her BSc in Molecular Cell Biology with a Year in Industry at the University of York, incorporating an industrial placement year at Pfizer and a research project investigating IL-17 family members in a murine model of inflammation.  She then completed a 4-year programme training as a Clinical Scientist in Immunology at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.  As part of this training she completed a part-time MSc in Medical Immunology at KCL with a project entitled “Frequencies of B and T lymphocyte subpopulations in rheumatoid arthritis and the impact of rituximab (anti-CD20) treatment”.  In 2012 she returned to KCL to begin the 4-year King’s Bioscience Institute MRes/PhD programme in Biomedical and Translational Science.  Ceri joined the Taams Group in 2013 as a PhD student. Her project is aimed at identifying novel cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate IL-10 expression in human Th1 and Th17 cells. Ceri now works for the University of Bristol. 

Hassan Morad

Hassan Morad studied Biological and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Exeter from 2011-2014. Hassan then undertook a Masters by Research in Biological Sciences from 2014-2015, using hybridoma technology to develop and evaluate a monoclonal antibody as a diagnostic tool for invasive candidiasis. In April 2016, Hassan joined the Taams lab as a rotation student on the BRC MRes/PhD programme where he will be working on regulatory T cells under the project title, “Investigating differentially expressed genes in regulatory T cells from the synovial fluid and peripheral blood of rheumatoid arthritis patients”.

Lucas Baumard

Lucas graduated from the University of Bristol in 2012 with a Bsc in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. From 2013 to 2014 he worked as a research assistant at Kings College London in Mark Peakman’s lab working on the ‘Monopept1de’ Type 1 diabetes trial on a 12 month contract. In 2014 Lucas moved to Queen Mary University of London to work as a research assistant for 18 months on a project investigating the immunomodulatory potential of the antibiotic cotrimoxazole.

Veerle Fleskens

Veerle obtained her BSc/MSc in Biomedical Sciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. During her Master’s program she studied the molecular regulation of the transcription factor PPARγ at the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital in Utrecht, and signalling through the kinase GSK-3 at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto, Canada.

In 2008 she started as a PhD student at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, where she studied the molecular mechanisms regulating Foxp3 transcriptional activity and regulatory T cell function. Veerle joined the Taams lab as a postdoctoral research associate in February 2014 to study the molecular mechanisms underlying regulation of effector and regulatory T cell function in rheumatoid arthritis. 

Bina Menon

Bina is a rheumatologist in training who joined the Taams lab in Oct 2010 as a clinical research fellow. Her project was aimed at investigating the presence of IL-17+ producing T cells in in psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A key observation from Bina’s work was the finding that the inflamed joints of patients with PsA contain enhanced frequencies of both IL-17+CD8+ T cells and IL-17+CD4+ T cells whilst in RA only the latter population is increased. This work was published in Arthritis & Rheumatology earlier in 2014. Bina is now back in medical training whilst writing up her MD thesis.

Saskia Van Asten

After completing her BSc in Bio-Pharmaceutical sciences at Leiden University, the Netherlands, Saskia continued with the MSc program in Bio-Pharmaceutical sciences at the same university. During her first one-year internship of the MSc program, she worked on a project titled ‘Using 3D Cell Cultures to Screen for drugs to treat Breast Cancer’ at the division of Toxicology at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research. She has now joined the Taams’ lab for her second internship to research the influence of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans on monocyte- and T-cell activation in periodontitis. Saskia will continue her career as a PhD student at Sanquin in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in the lab of Dr Robbert Spaapen.

Megha Rajasekhar

Megha completed an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Sydney, Australia, during the last year of which she undertook a research Honours project examining the role of microRNAs in myeloid differentiation at the Centenary Institute, Sydney. While the initial project used cell line models, in 2006 it was extended to examine the same in primary cells in Megha’s PhD project. After her PhD, in 2010 Megha undertook a position through the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development programme and worked with the Programme for HIV Prevention and Treatment in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Following this she worked at the Medical Research Council Unit in the Gambia, West Africa, with the Trachoma group on projects including the development of molecular diagnostic tests for various bacterial pathogens and an examination of microRNA expression changes in the eye during infection. Megha joined the Taams lab as a postdoctoral research fellow in January 2012 and is working on a project to identify novel molecular pathways via which monocytes can drive inflammatory T cell responses in rheumatoid arthritis.  Megha left the Taams lab in July 2014 and is currently living in Malawi.

Mirella Georgouli (MRes/PhD student)

Mirella Georgouli studied Biology with emphasis in Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology at the University of Crete. She completed the 2-year Post-Graduate Programme in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine at the same University and her M.Sc. thesis was carried out at the Immunology Laboratory of Biology Department. Afterwards, she joined as research staff the Department of Urology (School of Medicine) of the University of Ioannina. In October 2013, she began the 4-year BRC-MRes/PhD Programme in Biomedical and Translational Science. Mirella did her rotation project in the Taams Lab, aimed at understanding how microRNAs regulate monocyte resistance to apoptosis in rheumatoid arthritis.

Gina Walter (PhD student)

Gina completed her BSc in Biology at the Philipps University of Marburg in Germany. During her Bachelor's thesis at the Biomedical Research Center she was studying the role of IRF4 during IL-21-mediated TH-17 differentiation. She then went on to undertake a Masters degree in Molecular Medicine at Ulm University, during which she conducted the research part of her thesis with the title "NFkB independent pathways of protection of oral tumors by monocyte-macrophages" at the Jane & Jerry Weintraub Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Gina joined the Taams Group in 2010 as a 3-year Arthritis Research UK-funded PhD student working on a project entitled "Do activated monocytes impair regulatory T cell function in RA?" She graduated in 2013 and currently works as a postdoctoral fellow in the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg in the lab of Prof. Fröhling.

Hayley Evans (PhD student, Postdoc)

After completing an undergraduate degree at Aston University in Human and Applied Biology Hayley joined the Taams group in 2005 as an MRC funded PhD student. Her PhD thesis described the study of the induction, function and regulation of Th17 cells in rheumatiod arthritis. From 2009-2013 Hayley continued as a postdoc in the lab, supported by funding from the NIHR BRC and IMI BTCURE. During this time, Hayley generated novel data regarding the functional and molecular characterisation of human Th17 cells following anti-TNF therapy. In September 2013, Hayley left the lab to take up a postdoc position in the lab of Prof Lars Fugger in Oxford.

Nicola Gullick (Clinical Research Fellow/PhD student)

After graduating from Nottingham University Medical School Nicola completed a Senior House Officer rotation in General Medicine in the West Midlands. She developed a keen interest in Rheumatology, entering specialist training in the London Deanery in 2003. Her interest in clinical research widened following an MSc in Rheumatology at KCL, and she then completed a PhD on Immunopathological Correlates of Imaging in Rheumatoid Arthritis, which was funded by the NIHR BRC and the Guy's and St Thomas's Charity. Nicola currently works as Consultant Rheumatologist at King’s College Hospital.

Ann Jagger (PhD student)

After completing an undergraduate degree at Imperial College on Microbiology and a MSc in Immunology at King’s College London, Ann joined the Taams group in 2006 as an MRC funded PhD student. Her project examined the effects of different CD4+ T cell subsets on the phenotype and function of monocytes and macrophages. Ann graduated in 2010 and continued her research career in the USA where she is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University in the group of Prof Phil Tsao.

Jie Li (visiting research fellow)

Jie Li completed her doctor's degree in Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College with a thesis focusing on monoclonal autoantibodies in Sjögren’s syndrome animal models, and trained in the Rheumatology Department Peking Union Medical College Hospital. She then worked as a Rheumatologist in Qilu Hospital Shandong University. She joined the Taams lab in February 2012 as a visiting research fellow supported by a 12-month fellowship from the Asia Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology (APLAR). Her project, in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Kirkham, was aimed at the detection of a specific transcription factor in TNF-inhibitor-treated IL-17+ CD4+ T cells using Western blotting. Jie returned to China in 2013 to continue work in clinical rheumatology.

Machteld Tiemessen (Postdoc)

Following her PhD from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Machteld Tiemessen joined the Taams lab in 2004 where she investigated how regulatory CD4+CD25+ T cells influence the phenotype and function of human monocytes. Machteld left the lab in 2007 to continue her postdoctoral career in the lab of Prof Frank Staal, in the Leiden University Medical Centre. Since 2013, Machteld works as Senior Scientist Immunology at the Crucell Vaccine Institute in the Netherlands.

Wan-Chien Cheng

After completing her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the National Defense Medical Center and clinical training in periodontal specialty at the Tri-Service General Hospital in Taiwan, Wan-Chien joined the Dentistry Research MPhil/PhD programme in periodontology at Dental Institute (KCL). She also joined the Taams Group in 2011 as a 3-year PhD student working on a collaborative project with Prof Francis Hughes (dentistry) entitled "The role of Th17 lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease".

Lucy Durham (Clinical Training Fellow)

Lucy studied Medicine at University of Cambridge and University College London.  After graduating in 2010 she undertook her foundation and core medical training in the South London and Northwest London deaneries, including a year working at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.  Rotations in Rheumatology, Renal Medicine and Interstitial Lung Diseases developed her interest in Immunology and autoimmune diseases. Lucy joined the Taams lab in 2014 as a clinical training fellow in translational medicine funded by the Biomedical Research Centre to investigate the role of IL-17+ CD8+ T cells in the pathogenesis of psoriatic arthritis. Lucy went back into training in Oct 2015.

Aldana Alnesf

Aldana studied a MSc Immunology student with the Taams Lab group in 2017. She graduated from Queen Mary University of London in 2017 after completing BSc in biomedical science . During her undergraduate studies she gained a background in the field of immunology which together with a lab research project has led to her current interest and passion in immunology

Tatiana Rizou

Tatiana graduated with a BSc degree in Biology from the University of Athens in 2017. This included one year of placement at the University of Copenhagen. Her Bachelor thesis was entitled “Investigating the role of collagen XI in lung cancer specimens”.

In September 2017 she moved to London and started her MSc Immunology at the KCL. In January 2018 she joined the Taams lab for her research project on “Investigating the role of miRNAs in Rheumatoid Arthritis”.

Shweta Agrawal

Shweta was an intercalated medical student with the Taams group, having completed three years at Sheffield Medical School. Her BSc project, in the Taams lab, aimed to characterise the effect of Adalimumab (an anti-TNF agent) on CD4+ T helper cells. 

Ushani Srenathan

Ushani graduated with a BSc degree in Biology at Queen Mary, University of London, in 2013. She then undertook an MSc Immunology at King’s College London from which she graduated with Merit in 2014. Ushani joined the Taams lab in October 2014 on a 4-year King’s Health Schools MRC funded PhD studentship. Her PhD project focuses on studying the molecular and functional characterisation of CD8+ IL-17+ T cells and understanding the role of these cells in psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joint.

Lachrissa Burns

Lachrissa completed her BSc in Applied Biomedical Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2011.  This included a year on placement at the Medical Biochemistry and Immunology laboratory of the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.

After working for 18 months as a Research Assistant at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Lachrissa completed an MSc in Immunology at Imperial College London in 2014.  The MSc research project at the National Institute of Medical Research, Immune Cell Biology Division, Ley Lab, was entitled "Characterising the ERK5 MAP Kinase Interactome".

In October 2014 Lachrissa joined the Taams lab as a PhD student on a BBSRC CASE funded studentship, in collaboration with UCB, to investigate the expression and function of IL-17 family members in humans.

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