Venizelos Papayannopoulos lab image

Venizelos Papayannopoulos : Antimicrobial Defense Laboratory

We study how immune system cells tackle infection to learn more about conditions caused by immune responses.

Our lab is interested in cells called neutrophils. These important immune system cells are first to arrive when an unwelcome microbe invades the body. Neutrophils wrap themselves around microbes and break-up the invader so that it becomes harmless.

We study how neutrophils interact with microbes because learning more about how neutrophils prevent and clean-up infection can help us to understand their role in autoimmune diseases - conditions caused by an over-active immune response.

Neutrophils use web-like structures known as neutrophil extracellular traps, or NETs, to catch and kill dangerous microbes. Our lab has found that NETs also contribute to the early stages of atherosclerosis, a damaging build-up of fat inside arteries linked to heart disease.

Our team is investigating how neutrophils control NET release and what influence they have on the other immune system cells involved in autoimmune or inflammatory diseases.