UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship awarded to Dr Madhvi Menon

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Madhvi Menon, News | 0 comments

Dr Madhvi Menon, Deputy Branch Lead for Cellular Immunology at the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation has been awarded a prestigious Future Leaders Fellowship by UK Research and Innovation to continue her research on studying the role B cells play in chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD).

Discussing her new award Dr Menon said “The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship provides the perfect platform to launch my career as an independent researcher, enabling me to assemble a world-leading team, harness the latest technologies and support quality high-impact research.”

The healthy lung contains only sparse immune cells to allow the physical properties necessary for efficient gas exchange and maintain its critical functions. In chronic lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), immune cell infiltrates expand, persist and contribute to defective lung function. As a result, the lung does not return to its original state, and this can have long-term consequences for the patient. COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide, with no available treatments to delay disease progression. Therefore, developing novel therapeutic strategies for improved disease management is a global priority. 

Recent studies have focussed on understanding the profile of lung-infiltrating immune cells and their contribution to COPD. Remarkably, knowledge of B cells has lagged far behind that of other immune cells, despite their accumulation and persistence in the COPD lung.

Dr Menon and her team plan to uncover how B cells promote COPD pathogenesis and answer key questions such as;

  • Do lung-infiltrating B cells promote tissue inflammation and airway remodeling?
  • Do these aberrant B cell responses associate with disease severity?
  • Can we harness novel pathways involved to develop improved treatment approaches for patients?

To address these central questions Dr Menon will study in detail the interactions between lung-infiltrating B cells and the surrounding cells and matrix, to understand how these communications either exacerbate or limit disease. 

UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships support talented people in universities, businesses, and other research and innovation environments and allow institutes to develop their most talented early career researchers. The scheme aims to develop the next wave of world-class research and innovation leaders in academia and business.