Imperial College London

Dr. Beth Holder

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Medicine

Research Associate



+44 (0)20 7594 2063b.holder




235Wright Fleming WingSt Mary's Campus





Dr. Beth Holder is a Research Associate, based in the Paediatrics Section, Division of Infectious Diseases.

Beth's expertise is in extracellular vesicles, reproductive and neonatal immunology, and placental biology. She has two main research focuses:

(1) The investigation of bi-directional communication between maternal immune cells and the placenta via extracellular vesicles, including exosomes

(2) Maternal vaccination: the role of the placenta in antibody transfer and the impact of maternal pertussis immunisation on neonatal early-life immune responses 


Beth Holder graduated from the University of Manchester in 2007 with a First Class Honours degree in Biomedical Science with Industrial Experience. During this degree, she did a placement year at the MRC laboratories in The Gambia, investigating the effect of early-life EBV/CMV infection on infant vaccine responses.

Her PhD was based at The Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at The University of Manchester (with Prof. John Aplin and Dr Clare Tower) and Yale University School of Medicine (with Dr. Vikki Abrahams). This project investigated the effect of placental microvesicles and the Human Endogenous Retroviral (HERV) protein, syncytin 1, on the maternal immune system. She demonstrated that syncytin 1 is shuttled into microvesicles released from the placenta into the maternal circulation, and induces endotoxin-tolerance in maternal immune cells. She also demonstrated that placental microvesicles from pre-eclamptic pregnancies have an elevated pro-inflammatory effect on maternal immune cells compared to those from healthy placentas.

Upon completion of her PhD in 2012, Beth took up a postdoc at the Institute of Liver Studies at King’s College London, where she worked on a project to develop an antigen-specific regulatory T cell (Treg)-based therapy for treatment of autoimmune hepatitis.

Beth has now returned to the field of maternal/infant health, and is currently working as a Research Associate in the Section of Paediatrics.



Le Doare K, Holder B, Bassett A, et al., Mother’s milk: A purposeful contribution to the development of the infant microbiota and immunity, Frontiers in Immunology, ISSN:1664-3224

Rice TF, Donaldson B, Bouqueau M, et al., 2018, Macrophage- but not monocyte-derived extracellular vesicles induce placental pro-inflammatory responses, Placenta, Vol:69, ISSN:0143-4004, Pages:92-95

Szymula A, Palermo RD, Bayoumy A, et al., 2018, Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen EBNA-LP is essential for transforming naive B cells, and facilitates recruitment of transcription factors to the viral genome, Plos Pathogens, Vol:14, ISSN:1553-7366

Grant CR, Holder BS, Liberal R, et al., 2017, Immunosuppressive drugs affect interferon (IFN)- and programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) kinetics in patients with newly diagnosed autoimmune hepatitis, Clinical and Experimental Immunology, Vol:189, ISSN:0009-9104, Pages:71-82

Wilcox CR, Holder B, Jones CE, 2017, Factors Affecting the FcRn-Mediated Transplacental Transfer of Antibodies and implications for vaccination in Pregnancy, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol:8, ISSN:1664-3224

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