Professor Stella Knight began studies on “veiled” or “dendritic” cells with Dr. Balfour in 1979. Early observations of the traffic of veiled and dendritic cells (DC) via the afferent lymph formed the backdrop to her first contributions. Localisation of afferent lymph cells in lymph nodes and carriage of contact sensitisers into lymph nodes by veiled cells was described.
Stella Knight’s original work demonstrated a dual role for DC. She showed not only the stimulatory effects of DC for primary responses to different antigens in syngeneic T-cells but also the capacity of these cells under different environmental conditions to prevent T-cell stimulation. Thus her work showed directly that DC stimulate primary immune responses to contact sensitisers, viruses and bacteria. She showed that DC initiate unwanted immune responses in inflammatory or autoimmune diseases or can prevent immune responses in immunodeficiency diseases such as AIDS. Finally, she identified DC as a target for therapy, providing the first observations of tumour therapy using dendritic cells.
Stella Knight is continuing to lead the field in identifying mechanisms by which DC perform the dual roles of either initiating or blocking the development of immunity.
Over the last 10 years she has established her Immunopathology laboratory of the Antigen Presentation Research Group as a major research facility for St. Mark’s Hospital and Institute of Colorectal Diseases. She now works on human Mucosal Immunity and Nutrition and Immunity.
Knight SC, 2016, Dendritic Cell-T-Cell Circuitry in Health and Changes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Its Treatment, Digestive Diseases, Vol:34, ISSN:0257-2753, Pages:51-57
et al., 2016, Low Muscularity and Myosteatosis Is Related to the Host Systemic Inflammatory Response in Patients Undergoing Surgery for Colorectal Cancer, Annals of Surgery, Vol:263, ISSN:0003-4932, Pages:320-325
et al., 2016, Identification and molecular characterization of oat peptides implicated on coeliac immune response, Food & Nutrition Research, Vol:60, ISSN:1654-6628
et al., 2016, Age-related alterations in blood and colonic dendritic cell properties, Oncotarget, Vol:7, ISSN:1949-2553, Pages:11913-11922
et al., 2016, Anti-TNF-alpha therapy normalises aberrant cytokine production and homing profile of circulating dendritic cells in Crohn's disease, Journal of Crohns & Colitis, Vol:10, ISSN:1873-9946, Pages:S105-S105