Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Different immune cells seen in a germinal centre from a mouse

Dr Michelle Linterman is awarded tenure

Key points:
  • Dr Michelle Linterman has been awarded tenure, securing a permanent group leader position in the Institute’s Immunology programme.
  • The impact and international-standing of her work was commended, recognising excellent publications and grant success. The tenure review committee also commended her support of wider Institute activities across equality and diversity, communications and public engagement.
 
Michelle Linterman, Institute group leaderThe Institute is pleased to announce that Dr Michelle Linterman, a group leader within the Institute’s Immunology programme, has been awarded tenure. Michelle joined the Institute in 2013.
 
Michelle’s research focuses on the immune response to vaccination, including how life-long immunity is generated. Her research works towards understanding how to boost vaccination response by the immune system to counter the effect of a reduced immune response to vaccination by older people. Recent work has included a proof-of-concept study to investigate the link between the gut microbiome and the age-related decline in the immune system. This work (performed in mice) demonstrates that the decline of the germinal centre response in ageing is not irreversible, and can be corrected with the appropriate stimuli. The germinal centre response generates long-lived antibodies secreting cells and is important in developing immunological memory.
 
Recently, Michelle’s lab, in a collaborative study including international partners, has demonstrated that altering the adjuvant (a vaccine additive that acts to boost the immune response) had a profound effect upon vaccine efficacy promoting a strong immune response in humans of all ages (published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in August).
 
Professor Michael Wakelam, Institute Director, said: “Michelle has developed into an excellent, internationally recognised immunologist, we were unanimous in agreeing to award her tenure and we look forward to her continuing to produce outstanding science as she moves her career forward at the Institute.”
 
Michelle has produced 46 research papers receiving more than 5000 citations over the course of her career so far. Michelle was awarded a Lister Institute Research Prize Fellowship earlier this year, which provides £250,000 in funding to support researchers in developing independent research careers. She is a member of the EMBO Young investigator programme and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge.
 
Since the establishment of Michelle’s research group at the Institute, she has supervised 3 PhD students, secured funding for 9 projects and developed several key collaborations. In addition to leading her research team, Michelle was a member of the Institute’s Equality4Success committee to support the Institute’s equality, diversity and inclusion programme.  
 
Michelle commented: “I am delighted to be offered a tenured position at the Babraham Institute, and look forward to continuing our research here. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me, particularly within my group and the Immunology programme, as well as from across the Institute.”
 
Michelle was awarded a degree in biomedical science by the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Following this, she completed a PhD with Professor Carola Vinuesa at the Australian National University on the germinal centre response in autoimmunity. Subsequently, she joined the group of Professor Ken Smith as a postdoc at the University of Cambridge. Michelle has been a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, since 2010.
 

Notes to Editors

Contact:
Dr Louisa Wood, Babraham Institute Communications Manager, louisa.wood@babraham.ac.uk, 01223 496230
 
Additional/related resources:
Michelle Linterman receives Lister Prize News, 26th June 2019
Studying our ageing immune system with help from Cambridge BioResource, Cambridge Independent, 14th July 2019
Interview: Video ‘Addressing global challenges: Helping to turn back the ageing clock’: [from 2.14 - 3.29] Michelle Linterman talking about how her group's immunology research aims to support healthy ageing, including boosting the immune system in older people.
Latest research story: Could boosting the gut microbiome be the secret to healthier older age?  News, 4th June 2019
 
About the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, through an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.
 

Posted

4 October, 2019