Dr Gareth Tudor-Williams, Reader and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, has received a Distinguished Teacher Award in the Imperial College Teaching Excellence Awards for 2017. Dr Tudor-Williams is co-director for the Year 5 MBBS Paediatrics course and has a large educational role for both Imperial College School of Medicine undergraduates, the new medical school in Singapore (a joint venture between Imperial College and Nanyang Technical University) and an international role in postgraduate education particularly relating to HIV infection in children. His research interests include blood-borne virus infections in children especially HIV, HBV and HCV.
Congratulations to Dr Beth Holder on getting this beautiful paper published and thanks to the collaborators within and outside of the department who helped to facilitate the work with all the various techniques.
Beth recently presented the work at the International Symposium for Maternal and Neonatal Immunisation and her talk was praised as an outstanding contribution, particularly by our US attendees. This work was funded through the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and the Medical Research Council.
During pregnancy, the placenta forms the interface between mother and fetus. Highly controlled regulation of trans-placental trafficking is therefore essential for the healthy development of the growing fetus. Extracellular vesicle-mediated transfer of protein and nucleic acids from the human placenta into the maternal circulation is well documented; the possibility that this trafficking is bi-directional has not yet been explored but could affect placental function and impact on the fetus. We hypothesized that the ability of the placenta to respond to maternal inflammatory signals is mediated by the interaction of maternal immune cell exosomes with placental trophoblast. Utilising the BeWo cell line and whole placental explants, we demonstrated that the human placenta internalizes macrophage-derived exosomes in a time- and dose-dependent manner. This uptake was via clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Furthermore, macrophage exosomes induced production of proinflammatory cytokines by the placenta. Taken together, our data demonstrates that exosomes are actively transported into the human placenta and that exosomes from activated immune cells modulate placental cytokine production. This represents a novel mechanism by which immune cells can signal to the placental unit, potentially facilitating responses to maternal inflammation and infection, and thereby preventing harm to the fetus.
Dr Nathalie MacDermott presented the Good Friday meditation on BBC Radio 4 . Nathalie has been to Liberia several times to work with Ebola patients. Nathalie is currently an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow but has just been awarded a Wellcome Trust ISSF award to further her work on Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The Itchy Sneezy Wheezy project, or ISW, is a primary care led project funded by CLAHRC to develop case management of patients with chronic diseases such as asthma and allergies. ISW is coordinated and administered by Professor John Warner (Professor of Paediatrics at Imperial College) and Rachel Griffin (Children’s Advanced Nurse Practitioner – Integrated Care), who has been seconded to Imperial College by CLAHRC to run the integrated care pathways project.
ISW’s work was recently profiled in the London Evening Standard, where one parent, Mrs Blagg-Reeves, was quoted as saying: “I’m just so glad the clinic was around. If it can help other mothers not feel like a disappointment to their child because they can’t help him or her, then that’s good.”
ISW was also shortlisted for Child Health Team of the Year in the 2013 BMJ Awards, which took place on the 9th May.