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Joy Ogbechi


ARUK Foundation Fellow

Joy arrived at the Kennedy in April 2017 having studied for her PhD and undertaken post-doctorate work with Rachel Simmonds at the University of Surrey. Her PhD focussed on investigating the mechanism of action of mycolactone, a cytotoxic lipid responsible for the pathogenesis of the neglected tropical disease, Buruli ulcer. Her work contributed to the identification of Sec61, a major component of the endoplasmic reticulum protein translocation machinery, as the molecular target of mycolactone. She also discovered a potential role for dysregulated haemostasis in Buruli ulcer pathogenesis and unravelled the mechanistic linkage between blockade of protein translocation by mycolactone and its cytotoxic function.

Her attention switched to immune cells when she moved to the Kennedy to work with Richard Williams. Specifically she is seeking ways to restore the imbalance of immune signals in Rheumatoid Arthritis between the pathogenic Th17 cells and regulatory Tregs. Utilising the knowledge and techniques gained during her PhD, including CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing, she will be taking a closer look at an immunomodulatory pathway known as the integrated stress response in order to understand its role in T-cell metabolism and the development of specific T-cell subsets. Joy sees lots of potential for collaboration in the way the Kennedy is set up and is also open to collaboration outside of the Kennedy.

In addition to her research commitments, Joy feels strongly about giving back to the community and has engaged in outreach and awareness programs in the past. In her spare time you are more likely to find Joy enjoying a good book or movie at home than out running, though the latter does happen.

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