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 Prof. Richard Flavell, he moved to the lab of Dr. Mike Owen at Cancer Research UK, London, where he commenced studies on T cell development. Prof. Pennington moved to the Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine (Queen Mary University of Lon-don) in 2005, from Prof. 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 of gamma/delta 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.
MBBS Fundamentals of Medicine (Immunology) – Lecturer and Immunology Lead
MSc – Medical Microbiology – Lecturer and Immunology Lead
BSc – Basic Immunology (yr 2) – Lecturer
BSc – Advanced Immunology – Lecturer
Nanchang University (Basic Immunology) – Lecturer and co-Lead
Professor Pennington’s laboratory has two main areas of interest; the first focuses on various aspects of thymic T cell development, primarily the generation of unconventional T cell subsets; the second is to gain a better understanding of the role of the immune system in various human disease settings, e.g. severe trauma, squamous cell carcinoma, tylosis with oesophageal cancer and sarcoidosis. The lab has also commenced several studies on COVID-19.
- Lopes N., McIntyre C., Martin S., Raverdeau M., Sumaria N., Kohlgruber A. C., Fiala G. J., Agudelo L. Z., Dyck L., Kane H., Douglas A., Cunningham S., Prendeville H., Loftus R., Carmody C., Pierre P., Kellis M., Brenner M., Argüello R. J., Silva-Santos B.*, Pennington D. J.*, Lynch L*. (2021). Distinct metabolic programs established in the thymus control effector functions of γδ T cell subsets in tumor microenvironments. Nat Immunol. Feb;22(2):179-192. doi: 10.1038/s41590-020-00848-3. Epub 2021 Jan 18. PMID: 33462452. (*Joint authors; corresponding author).
- Galson J.D., Schaetzle S., Bashford-Rogers R. J. M. , Raybould M. I. J., Kovaltsuk A., Kilpatrick G. J., Minter R., Finch D. K., Dias J., James L. K., Thomas G., Lee W. J., Betley J., Cavlan O., Leech A., Deane C. M., Seoane J., Caldas C., Pennington D. J., Pfeffer P., Osbourn J. (2020). Deep Sequencing of B Cell Receptor Repertoires From COVID-19 Patients Reveals Strong Convergent Immune Signatures. Front Immunol. Dec 15;11:605170. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.605170. eCollection 2020. PMID: 33384691.
- Cabrera C.P., Manson J., Shepherd J.M., Torrance H.D., Watson D., Longhi M.P., Hoti M., Patel M.B., O'Dwyer M., Nourshargh S., Pennington D.J., Barnes M.R., 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 C.L., Silva-Santos B., Pennington D.J. (2017). Strong TCRγδ Signaling Prohibits Thymic Development of IL-17A-Secreting γδ T cells. Cell Reports. 19(12):2469-2476.
- Ryan P.L., Sumaria N., Holland C.J., Bradford C.M., Izotova N., Grandjean C.L., Jawad A.S., Bergmeier L.A., Pennington D.J. (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.
Current PhD Students
Past PhD Students