© Pint of Science, 2019. All rights reserved.
Our immune system protects us from infection and disease, but what happens when things go wrong and we become the targets? Come find out: how the immune system attacks our body in autoimmune diseases, its links with depression, and its roles in cardiovascular disease.
Immune responses: the good, the bad and the ugly
Our environment teems with bacteria and viruses trying to outwit our defences and boost their own survival at our expense. To survive, we evolved a sophisticated immune system, which fights a constant evolutionary ‘arms race’ against microbes: they evolve faster than us and we have to be ready for any new attack strategy. However, our powerful immune response has to be deployed with care: when control mechanism fail, inflammatory disease develops that can be catastrophic if not treated properly. Come along to find out why your immune system can go wrong, and what can be done to fix it!
Inflammation in depression, a new treatment target
Around 1 in 13 people suffer from depression and anxiety in the UK, and whilst effective treatments do exist, around 30% of patients are non-responsive to antidepressants. There is compelling evidence that inflammation is often associated with and can precede the development of depression. Many of those with treatment-resistant depression have raised inflammatory markers in their blood stream. Come along to hear about our latest research identifying biomarkers of inflamed depression and the potential to re-purpose current anti-inflammatory treatments for depression.
A Gruelling Experience with Cardiovascular Disease
If you are in your mid 30s, it is quite likely that you are developing atherosclerotic plaques in your artery walls. As you age, these plaques develop gruel-like centres, resulting in unstable structures that can cause heart attack and strokes. This process is dependent on a cell called a macrophage, which is otherwise known for being a dustbin of the immune system, and providing protection against infection from bacteria and viruses. My research investigates how this process occurs and how we could reverse the development of atherosclerosis and its associated catastrophic events.