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., 2022, Altered Mucosal Immune-Microbiota Interactions in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, Vol:13
et al., 2022, Altered immunity to microbiota, B cell activation and depleted gamma delta/resident memory T cells in colorectal cancer, Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, ISSN:0340-7004
et al., 2021, The Origin of Plasma-Derived Bacterial Extracellular Vesicles in Healthy Individuals and Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Pilot Study, Genes, Vol:12
et al., 2021, In vitro priming of human T cells by dendritic cells provides a screening tool for candidate vaccines for Burkholderia pseudomallei, Vaccines, Vol:9, ISSN:2076-393X, Pages:1-10
et al., 2021, Patients with gastrointestinal irritability after TGN1412-induced cytokine storm displayed selective expansion of gut-homing αβ and γδT cells, Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, Vol:70, ISSN:0340-7004, Pages:1143-1153