Welcome to the Harker lab, a biomedical research team currently based at the South Kensington Campus of Imperial College London. Our group’s primary interest is in understanding the regulation and maintenance of antibody mediated immunity. We are also fascinated by communication within the immune system, and how this influences the complex cellular networks involved in protecting us from infections, auto-immunity and cancer.
Antibodies are the primary means of long term protection generated by infection or vaccination. They can also become dysregulated in auto-immunity or allergy and contribute to disease. The selection and maturation of antibody secreting B cells predominantly takes place in specialized anatomical structures, called germinal centres. Here the antibody switching B cells interact tightly with specialized helper T cells, named T follicular helper cells, which dictate the type, quality and scale of antibody that the B cells will produce. We are particularly interested in how this is achieved at mucosal surfaces such as the lung, and use a range of model systems and human samples to explore this important biological process.