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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Professor Daniel Pennington


Professor of Molecular Immunology, Centre Lead

Centre: Immunobiology

Telephone: 020 7882 2302



Professor Pennington obtained his PhD from the National Institute for Medical Research in North London under the supervision of Dr. Elaine Dzierzak, where he studied the interaction of HIV regulatory proteins with the immune system. After spending a year at Yale University School of Medicine with Professor Richard Flavell, he moved to the lab of Dr. Mike Owen at Cancer Research UK, London, where he commenced his studies on T cell development. Dr. Pennington moved to the Blizard Institute from Professor Adrian Hayday’s Department of Immunobiology at Guy’s King’s and St. Thomas’ School of Medicine (Guy’s Hospital), where his work focused on the development and function of unconventional T cells.



The organs in the body that interface with the environment (e.g. skin; gut; lungs), need immune surveillance, first to limit systemic propagation of microbes that penetrate epithelial barriers, and second to maintain epithelial integrity from the threat of mutagenesis and the potential for systemic dissemination of malignant cells.

Our recent work has built on observations that immune surveillance of organs is critically contributed to by sets of unconventional T cells, some of which may be constitutively resident within particular, non-lymphoid tissues such as the gut. Intriguingly, these intraepithelial T cell populations not only have direct anti-pathogen and anti-tumour effector function, but are also associated with anti-inflammatory immunoregulatory responses that are implicated in many autoimmune pathologies.

With this as a basis to our work, the lab is working to establish an improved understanding of the development and function of unconventional T cells, focusing on their thymic development, and using the gut as a model system to study their function in the control of pathogens and in the immunosurveillance of tumours.


Module lead – 1st Year MBBS - Fundamentals in Medicine (Immunology)
Module lead – 2nd Year SBCS – Basic Immunology
Module lead – MSc Medical microbiology (Immunology)
Teaching on iBSc for Centre of Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Topics for PhD supervision:

  • The role of TCRγδ in γδ cell development
  • Thymic development of unconventional intra-epithelial lymphocytes
  • The role of γδ cells in host responses to tumours
  • The role of the two isoforms of pTα in T cell development


Research Interests:

Immunology; T cell development; The thymus; Host immune response to cancer; Immunology of the gut

Recent and ongoing research projects:

  • The role of TCRγδ in γδ cell development
  • Defining stages in γδ cell development
  • Thymic development of unconventional intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs)
  • The immune-related mechanisms of Autoimmune Thrombocytopenia (ITP)
  • The role of γδ cells in host responses to tumours
  • The role of the two isoforms of pTα in T cell development
  • T cell development in the human thymus


 Recent Major Publications

Cabrera CP, Manson J, Shepherd JM, Torrance HD, Watson D, Longhi MP, Hoti M, Patel MB, O'Dwyer M, Nourshargh S, Pennington DJ, Barnes MR, Brohi K. (2017). Signatures of inflammation and impending multiple organ dysfunction in the hyperacute phase of trauma: A prospective cohort study. PLoS Med. 2017 Jul 17;14(7):e1002352.

Sumaria N, Grandjean CL, Silva-Santos B, Pennington DJ. (2017). Strong TCRγδ Signaling Prohibits Thymic Development of IL-17A-Secreting γδ T cells. Cell Reports. 19(12):2469-2476.

Ryan PL, Sumaria N, Holland CJ, Bradford CM, Izotova N, Grandjean CL, Jawad AS, Bergmeier LA, Pennington DJ. (2016). Heterogeneous yet stable Vδ2(+) T-cell profiles define distinct cytotoxic effector potentials in healthy human individuals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113(50):14378-14383.

Muñoz-Ruiz M, Ribot JC, Grosso AR, Gonçalves-Sousa N, Pamplona A, Pennington DJ, Regueiro JR, Fernández-Malavé E, Silva-Santos B. (2016). TCR signal strength controls thymic differentiation of discrete proinflammatory γδ T cell subsets. Nat Immunol. 17(6):721-727.

Manson J, Cole E, De'Ath HD, Vulliamy P, Meier U, Pennington DJ, Brohi K. (2016). Early changes within the lymphocyte population are associated with the development of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in trauma patients. Crit Care. 20(1):176. doi: 10.1186/s13054-016-1341-2.

Rei M, Gonçalves-Sousa N, Lança T, Thompson RG, Mensurado S, Balkwill FR, Kulbe H,* Silva-Santos B,* Pennington DJ.* (2014). Murine CD27(-) Vg6(+) gd T cells producing IL-17A promote ovarian cancer growth via mobilization of pro-tumor small peritoneal macrophages. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Aug 11. PMID:25114209. (*Joint authors).

View all Daniel Pennington's Research Publications at:


Current PhD Students

Sara Masarone

Stephen Murtough

Emma Taggart


Past PhD Students

Yasel Fleitas

Stefania Martin

Paul Ryan

Capucine Grandjean

Margarida Rei

Joana Neves

Juliet Mahtani-Patching

Gavin Peters