BIOLOGIST WITH PARTICULAR INTERESTS IN CELL DEATH PATHWAYS AND AUTOIMMUNE MECHANISMS
Esther graduated with a first class honours degree in Biosciences with Industrial Placement from Durham University, before moving to Oxford to commence her DPhil in Molecular and Cellular Medicine.
Immunology was the module she most enjoyed during her undergraduate degree and prompted her to undertake an immunology-based industrial placement year, where she supported the company in custom-polyclonal antibody production and validation. Returning to complete her final year, she wrote a literature review entitled “LL-37 – the double edged sword in skin therapy,” which investigated the role of LL-37 antimicrobial peptides in innate immunity, their potential for causing autoimmunity (e.g. in psoriasis) and their prospective use in wound healing for severe skin-ulcer cases.
Here at the Kennedy Institute, she is supervised by Professor Lynn B. Dustin and Professor Christopher Buckley, in collaboration with Professor Jelena Bezbradica Mirkovic. Her DPhil project focuses on autoantigen-autoantibody interactions in the context of Sjögren's syndrome (SS). SS patients often generate antibodies against ubiquitously expressed, intracellular proteins such as TRIM21/Ro52 and TROVE2/Ro60. Her research aims to identify the location and possible upregulation of these autoantigens, and whether alternative cell death pathways such as pyroptosis or necroptosis allow autoantigen release, driving autoimmune responses.
Outside of her DPhil, Esther is an active member of the Oxford University Cross Country Club (OUCCC), captaining the open Women's Varsity (Mob) race in 2022.