Immune system disorders in the workplace

YouTube Livestream:

The immune system has been at the forefront of our mind for the past year. This seminar provides an introduction on how the immune system works, what happens when things go wrong and what that means for us and our interactions with others? Hosted by WIN Access, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion member network at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford. This seminar is the launch of a national campaign to raise awareness about immune system disorders in the workplace.

Dr Dannielle Wellington, from the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, will speak on: ‘An introduction to the immune system: Nature’s great balancing act’. The immune system is a complex network of cells and chemicals that work together to isolate, kill and clear infections from invading pathogens like bacteria or viruses. It is highly tuned to detect and respond to pathogens, but also to know when to stop because the infection has been cleared.  In some people, however, this highly tuned system is dysfunctional and the balance of the immune system response can tip.  When the immune system over-reacts it can lead to autoimmunity, while infections such as HIV can lead to a reduction in immune responses. This lecture will take you through the basics of the immune response to a pathogen before exploring how a tip in the balance of the immune response in either direction can be detrimental and put people at greater risk of serious infection. 

Dr Dannielle Wellington is a postdoc from the Human Immunology Unit of the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine working on the immune responses to viral infections such as influenza and SARS-Cov-2.  Her current work focusses on how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is processed and presented to effector cells of the immune system called T cells leading to targeted killing of infected cells. She previously completed her PhD at the University of Southampton on the autoimmune disease Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Dr Paula Croal, University of Nottingham, will speak on ‘Autoimmunity in academia: A personal perspective’. This talk will cover some of the challenges of living with an autoimmune disease, how this has impacted my day-to-day life and career, as well as questioning what can be done both on an individual and institutional level to support students and staff with compromised immune systems.

Dr Paula Croal is currently a research fellow in The Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre at The University of Nottingham focusing on methods development for physiological MRI in brain tumours. Since being diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease Paula has become an advocate for disabled academics.