I did my undergraduate degree at Cambridge in Natural Sciences and specialised in biochemistry. I have always found the immune system particularly interesting and was able to study some immunology as part of my broader course. I wanted to combine my passions for biochemistry and immunology in my PhD project and I found just that in the Boucher lab! I found the initial recognition of pathogens by the innate immune system particularly fascinating and thought this project was a perfect fit.
My project will focus on how pathogens are recognised by the innate immune response. In particular, this will be studying how the bacterial molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is recognised by cells, and how this activates an innate immune signalling pathway called the non-canonical inflammasome. This pathway has an important role in protecting the body from infection and has been implicated in sepsis and a range of other immune conditions. I aim to characterise how LPS is recognised intracellularly and how this leads to the formation of a signalling platform. It is the initial stages of the pathway activation including LPS binding and protein complex formation as a result that interests me. I intend to use biochemical approaches to reconstitute the pathway in vitro and also study it in cellulo.