Prakash Ramachandran's group characterise macrophage heterogeneity and function in organ fibrosis.
Organ fibrosis (or scarring) is estimated to contribute to 45% of deaths in the Western world. However, there are currently no effective anti-fibrotic therapies. Fibrosis is the result of a complex multi-cellular response to chronic injury, which invariably incorporates the activation of immune cells within the damaged organ. By understanding the biology of the immune response in scar formation and scar resolution, novel treatments could be developed for treating patients with fibrotic diseases.
Our research is focused on understanding the role of the innate immune system in fibrosis and fibrosis resolution in the liver and other organs. In particular, cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage have been shown to be key orchestrators of tissue scarring, and hence represent an attractive therapeutic target. However, macrophages are heterogeneous plastic cells, with multiple subpopulations of varied origin and phenotype. In order to develop effective anti-fibrotic therapies which can modulate macrophage function, it is imperative to fully understand macrophage heterogeneity. Our ongoing work will utilise cutting-edge techniques to define functional subpopulations of monocytes and macrophages in models of liver fibrosis and fibrosis in other organs. In parallel, we are characterising macrophages from fibrotic human liver, to enable the identification of corollary populations and the delineation of rational therapeutic targets.
I undertook medical training and an intercalated BSc (hons) in Pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 2003. I subsequently completed a Wellcome Trust funded PhD at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, under the supervision of Professor John Iredale, Professor Stuart Forbes and Dr David Kluth. I proceeded to finish my specialty clinical training in hepatology, gastroenterology and general medicine, working in both Edinburgh and Aberdeen. I was awarded an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2015, entitled "The Role of Tissue-resident Hepatic Macrophages in the Resolution of Chronic Liver Injury".
Honorary Consultant Hepatologist, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Professor Jeffrey W Pollard - MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh