Centre of research
Cellular and Molecular Immunology Research Centre (CMIRC)
The Cellular and Molecular Immunology Research Centre (CMIRC), founded in 2009, consists of four research themes made up of 19 research staff and five associates from multidisciplinary backgrounds within biomedicine. This community of scientists, together with industrial partners, is three years into a 10-year research programme. We comprise a fairly unique grouping with a singular focus on extracellular vesicles research in biomedicine.
Our aim is to use an understanding of the cellular and molecular basis of extracellular vesicle (EV) involvement in infectious disease and cancer biogenesis/metastasis, to develop effective interventions and to use EVs as targeted therapeutic agents. The focus is now on prostate cancer (finding new cancer immunotherapies and working on sodium and calcium channels in cancer) and viral infection (coxsackie and rhinovirus) and tissue regeneration (using planaria as a model).
One of the strength of CMIRC’s approach is that it is involved right from the basic laboratory work, aiming to make its research findings translational. It is therefore actively involved, through collaboration with industry, and other pan-European labs in bringing about clinical applications.
CMIRC is dedicated to training researchers to PhD level and to providing opportunities for postdoctoral researchers. Visitors are always welcome, as are interns trying to see whether research is for them. CMIRC also aims to increase awareness of extracellular vesicles research and of its potential application; our approach is to make potential future students aware of opportunities in research through school talks and competitions. We are also excited that the subject of extracellular vesicles (microvesicles and exosomes) has now entered the curriculum and is taught in our Applied and Advanced Immunology modules, part of the Biomedical Science BSc and MSc, respectively.
The CMIRC image is the modelled peptide structure of the immunologically important part of Schistosoma Tetraspanning Orphan Receptor (formerly Trispanning Orphan Receptor) discovered in 1997 (Inal, J (1999) Schistosoma TOR (Trispanning Orphan Receptor), a novel, antigenic surface receptor of the blood-dwelling, Schistosoma parasite. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1445, 283-298; Inal, J and Sim, RB (2000) FEBS Lett. 470, 131-134; J Immunol. 168, 5213-5221; J. Immunol 170, 4310-4317) and more recently shown to be a prime vaccine candidate against Schistosoma mansoni (Lochmatter, C et al, (2012) Clin. Exp. Immunol. 170, 342-357).