Asthma is a chronic syndrome affecting over 300 million people worldwide. Bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids are regular treatments in clinic. However, around 5%-10% of patients need oral corticosteroids (OCS) for frequent exacerbation, as they suffer symptoms difficult to control despite good adherence and inhaler technique. Physical and psychological side effects are common and problematic with OCS such as obesity, depression and increased risk of infection. In the past 20 years, 5 biological drugs have been developed. However, due to the cost of biologics, they are only used as add-on treatments in few developed countries. Therefore, there is still a high demand for novel small molecule drugs. This talk will focus on the important endotype of asthma - type 2 inflammation (T2), and the research to discover new biomarkers and therapeutics targeting T2 high severe asthma.
Wentao Chen is a 4th year DPhil student in Clinical Medicine in Respiratory Medicine Unit, NDM. His projects focus on the roles of immune cells in pathogenesis of severe asthma and action of drugs targeting these cells. Prior to his studies in Oxford, he has obtained a MSc in Drug Design from UCL, UK and a BS in Biotechnology from Fudan University, China.
Bacteria are essential for life on earth. They are involved in a broad spectrum of both positive (e.g. plant growth promoting) and negative (e.g. pathogenic) interactions. I am interested in understanding how bacterial genomes link to the key biological processes they carry out. The development of high-throughput genomic sequencing technologies has brought about an explosion in genome sequencing activity, and the production of complete bacterial genomes. This helps identify the repertoire of genes a bacterium can have available to them, but crucially, does not tell us which genes are biologically important. As such, our knowledge of gene function is increasingly outpaced by gene discovery. In this talk, I will give an introduction into how we can understand bacterial genomes and the beneficial uses of this, and discuss current research projects to these ends involving both functional genomics approaches and evolutionary biology.
Dr. Rachel Wheatley is a Junior Research Fellow at Linacre and a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Bacterial Evolution. She is currently based in the Department of Zoology, in the research group of Professor Craig MacLean (https://macleanlab.wordpress.com). Her research project is part of a pan-European clinical trial understanding antimicrobial resistance evolution and developing new antimicrobial approaches (https://www.combacte.com). She completed her DPhil in the Department of Plant Sciences, in the research group of Professor Philip Poole (https://rhizosphere.org), where her research was focused on understanding the genetic basis of nitrogen-fixingRhizobium-legume symbioses. Outside of academia, Rachel is a former team GB athlete and BUCS National Boxing Champion.