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Alessio Lanna

Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow

I graduated summa cum laude in Biotechnology at the University Tor Vergata of Rome in July 2008, and was awarded a summa cum laude Master degree in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology by the University La Sapienza of Rome in January 2011. The same year, I was awarded a MRC-funded PhD Fellowship by the University College London (UCL), and joined Professor Arne Akbar's research group at the Division of Infection and Immunity in September 2011. During my PhD, I investigated mechanisms of telomerase down-regulation in lymphocytes and identified a new pathway for activation of p38 MAPK in primary human T cells. In this pathway, intra-cellular changes such as low-nutrient and senescence signals converge to negatively regulate T cell responses ('Intra-Sensory' signaling). During this time, I served as invited speaker at the International Congress of Immunology (ICI, Milan 2013), and held a Bright Sparks in Immunology lecture at the European Congress in Immunology (ECI, Vienna 2015). After my PhD, I was offered Post-doctoral Fellowships by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the Wellcome Trust. Presently, I serve as a Sir Henry Wellcome Trust Fellow under the Sponsorship of Professor Michael L Dustin at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford. I hold an Honorary Research Associate contract at UCL, and international collaborations with Professors Michael Karin (University California San Diego) and Erika L Pearce (Max Planck Institute For Immune-biology and Epigenetics, Freiburg) and Dr. Enrico Lugli (Humanitas Cancer Research Centre, Milan). My mentor is Professor Mala Maini (UCL). Our work will introduce a hitherto unknown immune-inhibitory complex, identifying strategies to restore adaptive immunity during ageing and in tumour disease. The overall aim is to define the interplay between senescence and metabolic signals in controlling T cell function.

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