Anthony Segal is a clinician scientist who works in two main areas. The first is the investigation of the mechanisms by which neutrophil leukocytes kill bacteria and fungi. He discovered the molecular components of the NADPH oxidase, an electron transport chain that passes electrons across the wall of the vacuole that contains the ingested microbe. This system changes the physicochemical composition of the vacuole, thereby activating the enzymes released onto the microbes from the cytoplasmic granules to kill and digest the organisms.
He also works on the causes of the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The former is caused by a defect of acute inflammation, which results in failure to clear faeces from the wall of the bowel. By contrast, inflammation is excessive in ulcerative colitis in which the lining of the bowel is also unduly friable.
By understanding the molecular mechanisms of the immune system, and what happens when they go wrong, Anthony’s research is helping us to understand and treat a wide range of immunological diseases.