Fellow Profile: Dr Michelle Linterman

This is one of a series of posts discussing our 2019 crop of Lister Fellows. Each of the new Fellows were officially awarded their prestigious Lister Institute research prize at our Annual Event at the University of Oxford in November 2019. In this post we meet Dr Michelle Linterman of the Babraham Institute.

Dr Linterman carries out research into how inflammation in the body can remodel peripheral tissues so that they recruit immune cells to the site where the inflammation occurs.

The formation of tertiary lymphoid structures (TLSs) in non-lymphoid tissues occurs in many inflammatory conditions such as infection, autoimmune disease and cancer.TLSs vary in cellular composition from loose arrangements of T cells to highly organised aggregates which contain germinal centre (GC)-like structures.

A GC is a specialised microenvironment that forms in secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) after infection or immunisation and generates long-term immunity.

In SLOs, GC formation is facilitated by specific mesenchymal stromal cells that are established during embryogenesis and that recruit B cells to the tissue in order to provide survival and migration cues that support the GC response.

The dependence of the GC on a pre-formed network of stromal cells poses an extra challenge for GC formation in non-lymphoid tissues, as the stromal cell networks must be generated anew at these sites in order to initiate and sustain a GC response.

Dr Linterman is investigating how remodelled peripheral tissues support a GC response in non-lymphoid tissues, by recruiting B cells to the sites of inflammation, primarily by studying how the influenza infection remodels the lung to support ectopic GCs at this site.

Dr Linterman received her PhD in Immunology from the Australian National University in Canberra and is a Group Leader at the Babraham Institute.

You can find out more about Dr Linterman, view her publications and see further details of her academic career at her personal profile on the Babraham Institute website.

We are very pleased to be supporting Dr Linterman’s research through a Lister Research Prize and are looking forward to hearing more about her progress in the future.