Curiouser and curiouser: regulating the remarkable dynamics inside killer T cells

Killer cells of the immune system provide a vital defence against pathogens and cancer. There is increasing interest in understanding how these cells work as recent advances in immunotherapies have successfully harnessed the killing potential of these cells to combat cancers. How best to optimise these treatments and regulate killing is the subject of intense research. However, most research to date has focused on modifying the receptors that recognise targets at the cell surface. In this seminar I will describe what happens underneath the surface of these cells when they encounter their targets and the multiple mechanisms that regulate killer cell function by mechanisms that are both unusual and fascinating, linking rapid membrane changes to changes in transcription, translation and intracellular polarity that are all required for optimal killing.


Professor Gillian Griffiths FMedSci, FRS obtained her PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in 1984, with Cesar Milstein. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University, she started her own research laboratory at the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland. She returned to University College London, before moving to the Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford where she held her lab from 1997-2007 before moving to the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) where she was Director 2102-2017. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2005), EMBO (2006), and a Fellow of the Royal Society (2013).