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.
et al., 2020, Patients with gastrointestinal irritability after TGN1412-induced cytokine storm displayed selective expansion of gut-homing αβ and γδT cells, Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, ISSN:0340-7004
et al., 2020, Immune reconstitution and clinical recovery following anti-CD28 antibody (TGN1412)-induced cytokine storm., Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, ISSN:0340-7004
Panoskaltsis N, McCarthy NE, Knight SC, 2020, Myelopoiesis of acute inflammation: lessons from TGN1412-induced cytokine storm, Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, ISSN:0340-7004
et al., 2020, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron-derived outer membrane vesicles promote regulatory dendritic cell responses in health but not in inflammatory bowel disease, Microbiome, Vol:8, ISSN:2049-2618
et al., 2020, Deficient Resident Memory T Cell and CD8 T Cell Response to Commensals in Inflammatory Bowel Disease., J Crohns Colitis, Vol:14, Pages:525-537