In 2018, the MCF began funding its first PhD studentship through Bowel Research UK.
Professor James Lindsay received funding for his research into Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Project title: ‘Assessing the function of resident memory T cells in the intestinal mucosa of patients with IBD’
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
IBD is an umbrella term used to describe conditions that involve chronic inflammation of your digestive system. It is caused by T Cells, which react to normal and harmless bacteria and cause damaging chemicals to be released into the gut.
Until recently, it was thought that these T cells continuously enter the gut from the blood and then leave again to be replaced by new cells coming in. However, researchers have discovered that there is in fact a different type of T cell that does not recirculate but instead stays resident in the gut for long periods of time.
How will this research make a difference?
Currently, very little is known about these cells or about how they contribute to IBD but they are potentially very important. A better understanding of these cells could explain a number of characteristics of IBD including different disease locations; why disease can return in some patients after treatment; and why some drugs used to treat IBD only work in some patients.
Professor Lindsay will conduct the first in-depth analysis of these cells in the human intestine and determine how they contribute to IBD. By doing this, he hopes to increase understanding of IBD and improve the treatment of patients.