Dr Karen Mackenzie
We study rare genetic inflammatory conditions associated with lung inflammation to understand more about how these conditions occur, with the aim of identifying new therapeutic targets.
Interstitial lung diseases are a broad group of conditions associated with long-term inflammation in the lung. Current treatments are limited, and more needs to be understood about why interstitial lung diseases occur so that better therapies can be developed.
Type I interferons are substances produced by the immune system and are particularly important for defence against viruses. However, if type I interferon responses are not controlled by the body then this can cause inflammation and disease. The “type I interferonopathies” are a group of genetic conditions where inflammation is associated with dysregulated type I interferon responses.
We focus on specific type I interferonopathies which are associated with lung inflammation. Some of the genetic alterations which can cause these conditions are now known, which enables us to investigate how these genetic alterations lead to inflammation. Our overarching aim is to further understand the immune mechanisms involved in lung inflammation to aid identification of new therapeutic targets. We anticipate that the results from this work will have relevance both to people affected by these rare inflammatory lung conditions, and to people affected by more common interstitial lung diseases.
Karen Mackenzie completed medical training (Hons) and an intercalated BSc (Hons) in Immunology at the University of Edinburgh before completing a Medical Research Council funded PhD at the Centre for Inflammation Research, Edinburgh. She spent time as a non-clinical Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Professor Andrew Jackson (Institute of Genetics and Cancer, Edinburgh) where she investigated immune pathways in a type I interferonopathy called Aicardi-Goutières disease (Nature, 2017). Karen then completed specialty medical training in Clinical Genetics and was awarded a MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship.
Honours and Awards
- 2018: Poster prize, The Academy of Medical Sciences Clinical Academics in Training conference
- 2017: Poster prize, Therapeutic Tolerance Workshop, Newcastle University
- 2011: Poster prize, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research
- 2009: Highly commended in the MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Prize
- 2008-2011: MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship
Honorary Consultant in Clinical Genetics, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh
- Professor Yanick Crow, Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh Yanick Crow Research Group | The University of Edinburgh
- Dr Marie-Louise Frémond, Univerisité de Paris, Imagine Institute, Paris
- Professor Neil Henderson, Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh Professor Neil Henderson | The University of Edinburgh
- Dr Nik Hirani, Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh Dr Nik Hirani | The University of Edinburgh
- Professor Andrew Jackson, Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh Professor Andrew Jackson (FRS) | The University of Edinburgh
- Dr Sarah McGlasson, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh Sarah McGlasson (PhD) | The University of Edinburgh
- Professor Hans-Willem Snoeck, Columbia Center for Human Development, Columbia University, New York
- Dr Veronique Vitart, Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh Veronique Vitart Research Group | The University of Edinburgh
Mackenzie KJ , Carrol P, Martin CA, Murina O, Fluteau A, Simpson DJ, Olova N, Sutcliffe H, Rainger J, Robertson A, Osborn R, Wheeler AP, Nowotny M, Gilbert N, Chandra T, Reijns MAM, Jackson AP. cGAS surveillance of micronuclei links genome instability to innate immunity. 2017 Aug 24;548(7668):461-465. doi: 10.1038/nature23449.
MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship 2022-2027