Doreen Cantrell is an immunologist whose life’s work has focused on T cells — white blood cells that provide a principal arm of the body’s immune defences. Doreen has skilfully unravelled networks of enzymes and other effectors within the cell that regulate T cell development, migration, metabolism and response to invading pathogens.
Her highly interdisciplinary approach combines biochemistry, cell biology and genetic manipulation, and has successfully elucidated the roles of enzyme families that modify gene expression in T cells and therefore their path in life. For example, she has identified the signals that cause activated T cells to stop circulating and move into tissues to fight infection.
The insights from Doreen’s research may make it possible to manipulate our body’s immune response to treat infection. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to life sciences.