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Research Fellows Directory

Oreste Acuto

Professor Oreste Acuto

Research Fellow


University of Oxford

Research summary

T cells are at the centre of the immune system to rid our body of infectious

pathogens. This is dramatically emphasised by AIDS, in which some T cells are

destroyed by HIV. T cells indirectly receive signals from incoming bacteria, viruses

and parasite to rapidly destroy them, while avoiding erroneous attacks of the

same immune system to body tissues, which might provoke an auto-immunity disease. Both infections and autoimmunity may severely affect well-being of those afflicted by these diseases

and impose a heavy burden on health resources. Progress in understanding

precisely the underlying mechanisms of human immunity makes vaccines work

more effectively and design of novel therapies prevent or cure triggering of autoimmunity

(e.g., diabetes, multiple sclerosis). During the past twenty years the

research of my laboratory has contributed to discover several elemental

components of the “signalling machinery” through which T cells are alerted and

command adequate responses to eliminate the invading infectious agent or, if

defective, provoke auto-immunity. This research has helped and will continue

finding better and more adequate therapies not only to infections and

autoimmunity but also improve organ transplantation and fight against cancer.

Grants awarded

Molecular mechanisms of TCR signalling determining T cell fates

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: Aug 2011 - Jul 2016

Value: £75,000