Dr. Lisa Reynolds

Dr. Lisa Reynolds
Associate Professor
Biochemistry and Microbiology

BSc (Manchester), PhD (Edinburgh)

Area of expertise

Microbiome, helminth (parasitic worm) infections, bacterial infections, mucosal immunology.

Research interests

We are interested in understanding how the inhabitants of our intestinal tract can affect the development and function of the mammalian immune system, and how this can affect susceptibility to various infectious, inflammatory, and allergic diseases.

Under normal circumstances, our intestines are colonized by hundreds of species of microbes, collectively termed the microbiota. Our intestines can also be colonized by macroscopic organisms, such as parasitic worms (helminths). The presence of particular microbes or macrobes within the intestinal tract can drastically alter the development and functioning of our immune system, which in turn can influence our susceptibility to infectious, inflammatory and allergic diseases.

Our research aims to dissect the pathways of intercommunication between the microbiota, helminths, and the mammalian immune system at mucosal surfaces such as the intestinal tract. We study how these three-way interactions can influence immune system development and function. We are particularly interested in understanding how these three-way interactions can impact intestinal and extra-intestinal diseases, such as those caused by allergic inflammation or by pathogenic bacterial infection.

Our ultimate goal is to identify molecules and mechanisms that can influence immune system functioning, which can then be targeted therapeutically to treat or prevent allergic, inflammatory, and infectious diseases.

Our major research questions

  • How does colonization of the mammalian intestinal tract by specific members of the microbiota and/or parasites affect immune system development and function?
  • How do parasites and the microbiota affect susceptibility to allergic, infectious, and inflammatory diseases?
  • How do intestine-dwelling organisms interact with each other and the host immune system in the mammalian intestinal tract?
  • How do components of the immune system regulate colonization of the intestinal tract by parasites and the microbiota?