Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Dr Ute-Christiane Meier


Lecturer in Neuroimmunology

Centre: Neuroscience and Trauma

Telephone: 020 7882 2324


Ute-Christiane Meier studied Biology at the universities of Bayreuth and Heidelberg, and moved to Oxford in 1992 for her DPhil at the Nuffield Department of Medicine in Oxford, where she studied the role of cytotoxic CD8+ T-cells in HIV infection. She continued working in viral- and cancer immunology at Oxford University, British Biotech and the Edward Jenner Institute for Vaccine Research. She moved to the Blizard Institute in 2007 to pursue her longstanding interest in Neuroimmunology. She was appointed as a non-clinical lecturer in 2012 and runs an active research programme in “Neuroinflammation and Psychoimmunology”.



Problem based learning facilitator
BSc Neuroscience (Intercalated), lab project supervisor

MSc Neuroscience and Translational Medicine, lab project supervisor

Student selected component: viral immunology, neuroinflammation

Topics for PhD supervision: Neuroinflammation and Psychoimmunology



Research Interests:

Ute-Christiane Meier’s research focuses on neuroimmunology and psychoimmunology.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. For decades researchers have unsuccessfully tried to unravel mechanisms underlying neuroinflammation and neuropathology in MS. We do know that susceptibility depends on genetic and environmental risk factors and their interactions, and there is mounting evidence that both late Epstein-Barr virus-infection and hypovitaminosis-D are key environmental risk factors in MS. One research programmes, therefore, builds on her recent work on these MS-risk factors and explores their potential biological interaction. This work is done in collaboration with teams in Athens and Al-Ain (Dr J Tzartos/Prof G Khan). Furthermore, she collaborates locally with Profs Julian Gold/Gavin Giovannoni on clinical studies to explore the role of endogenous retroviruses in MS. Her team is also looking into the role of environmental risk factors (e.g. hypovitaminosis-D) and inflammation in autism and schizophrenia and in patients at high risk of developing schizophrenia. She collaborates with teams at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry/ Evelina Hospital and at the Blizard Institute (Drs F Gaughran, A Krivoy, M Absoud, M Lim, E Kočovská, G Warnes, Prof A Martineau) and internationally with the Psychiatric Hospitals in Jena (Drs S Smesny/B Milleit) and Dresden (Prof V Roessner). As part of the EU FP7 consortium EMTICS (, she is part of a team trying to identify genetic and environmental susceptibility factors in tic-disorders. Modulation of environmental risk factors is of great interest in these conditions as they can potentially be altered in contrast to the genetic susceptibility and may offer exciting strategies for prevention and intervention.

Research into the role of environmental risk factors in multiple sclerosis and psychiatric diseases.

Research Group Page


Kočovská E, Gaughran F, Krivoy A, Meier UC. Vitamin-D Deficiency As a Potential Environmental Risk Factor in Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia, and Autism. Front Psychiatry. 2017 Mar 27;8:47. PMID: 28856442

Sisay S, Lopez-Lozano L, Mickunas M, Quiroga-Fernández A, Palace J, Warnes G, Alvarez-Lafuente R, Dua P, Meier UC. Untreated relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis patients show antibody production against latent Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) antigens mainly in the periphery and innate immune IL-8 responses preferentially in the CNS. J Neuroimmunol. 2017 May 15;306:40-45. PMID: 28385186

Kuhle J et al., Conversion from clinically isolated syndrome to multiple sclerosis: A large multicentre study. Mult Scler. 2015 Jul;21(8):1013-24. PMID: 25680984

Klionsky DJ et al., Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy. 2016;12(1):1-222. PMID:26799652

Biela A, Watkinson M, Meier UC et al. Disposable MMP-9 sensor based on the degradation of peptide cross-linked hydrogel films using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. Biosens Bioelectron. 2015 Jun 15;68:660-7. PMID: 25660510

Ramien C, Pachnio A, Sisay S, Begum J, Leese A, Disanto G, Kuhle J, Giovannoni G, Rickinson A, Ramagopalan SV, Moss P, Meier UC. Hypovitaminosis-D and EBV: no interdependence between two MS risk factors in a healthy young UK autumn cohort. Mult Scler. 2014 May;20(6):751-3. PMID:24192216

Pakpoor J, Disanto G, Gerber JE, Dobson R, Meier UC, Giovannoni G, Ramagopalan SV. The risk of developing multiple sclerosis in individuals seronegative for Epstein-Barr virus: a meta-analysis. Mult Scler. 2013 Feb;19(2):162-6. PMID:22740437

Rosello A, Warnes G, Meier UC. Cell death pathways and autophagy in the central nervous system and its involvement in neurodegeneration, immunity and central nervous system infection: to die or not to die--that is the question. Clin Exp Immunol. 2012 Apr;168(1):52-7. PMID: 22385237

UC Meier, G Giovannoni. JS Tzartos. G Khan (2012). Translational Mini-Review Series on B cell subsets in disease. B cells in multiple sclerosis: drivers of disease pathogenesis and Trojan horse for Epstein-Barr virus entry to the central nervous system? Clin Exp Immunol., 167:1-6

J Tzartos, G Khan, A Vossenkamper, M Clemens, P Farrell, A Meager, J Middeldorp, G Giovannoni, UC Meier (2012). Association of innate immune activation with latent Epstein Barr virus in active MS lesions. Neurology, 78(1):15-23. 

H Lassmann, G Niedobitek, F Aloisi, J M. Middeldorp; the NeuroproMiSe EBV Working Group (UC Meier co-author as part of the working group) (2011) Epstein–Barr virus in the multiple sclerosis brain: a controversial issue- report on a focused workshop held in the Centre for Brain Research of the Medical University of Vienna. Brain, 134 (9):2772-86.

SV Ramagopalan, R Dobson, UC Meier and G Giovannoni (2010). Multiple sclerosis: Prodromes, Endophenotype and potential causal pathways. Lancet Neurology, 9(7):727-739

X Xu, MA Purbhoo, N Chen, J Mongkolsapaya, J Cox, U Meier, S Tafuro, PR Dunbar, AK Sewell, CS Hourigan, V Appay, V Cerundulo, S Burrows, A McMichael and G Screaton (2001). A novel approach to antigen-specific deletion of CTL with minimal cellular activation using alpha3 domain mutants of MHC class I/peptide complex. Immunity.14: 591- 602

S Tafuro*, UC Meier*, R Dunbar, G Layton, M Hunter, EY Jones, J Bell and AMcMichael (2001). Reconstitution of antigen presentation in HLA class I negative cancer cells with peptide-beta2m fusion molecules. Eur. J. Immunol., 31: 440- 449.

UC Meier*, P Klenerman*, P Griffin, W James, B Koeppe, B Larder, A McMichael, R Phillips (1995). Cytotoxic T lymphocyte lysis inhibited by viable HIV mutants. Science 270: 1360- 1362. *joint 1st authors