Andrew MacDonald
  • Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation, CTF Building, 46 Grafton Street

    M13 9NT Manchester

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Andrew MacDonald completed his PhD studying immunity to parasitic worms (helminths) at the University of Edinburgh in 1998. After several years in the U.S., first at Cornell University and then at the University of Pennsylvania, he returned to the UK in 2002 to the University of Edinburgh where he established his lab through successive MRC Career Development and Senior Fellowships at the Institute of Immunology and Infection Research.  In January 2013 he took up the position of Professor of Immunology at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research (MCCIR).  His research addresses some outstanding fundamental questions about activation and modulation of cellular immune responses during inflammation.

Research interests

The research in my laboratory mainly investigates how pathogen interaction with the innate immune system influences the development of adaptive immunity and inflammation.  My particular interest is Type 2 inflammation, which is responsible for widespread suffering in allergy, as well as being a hallmark of infection with parasitic worms (helminths).  

Our research uses a combination of in vivo and in vitro model systems, focussing on the medically important helminth Schistosoma mansoni.  Murine infection with this parasite provides a relevant experimental model of Type 2 inflammation that has been used extensively by my laboratory and others to reveal important cellular and molecular players and processes during hepatic, intestinal and pulmonary inflammation.  Our current experimental focus in this area is on the immune features that dominate in the lungs and intestines at different stages of infection, and interplay between the parasite and the host microbiota.

We have also begun to apply our understanding of immune mechanisms at play in helminth infection to allergic airway inflammation, as well as to initiate studies using human samples to complement and inform our murine work. Our expertise in isolation of delicate and rare cells from tissues, and multi-parameter flow cytometry, provides the opportunity to tackle the formidable technical challenge of clearly defining the activation and function of innate and adaptive immune cells - with a current focus on dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages and CD4+ T cells - during both murine and human pulmonary inflammation, where cell numbers are often extremely limited. Ongoing projects in this area include the investigation of metabolic mechanisms that control activation of airway macrophages and DCs, and mechanisms of cross-talk between pulmonary DCs and regulatory T cells, during both murine and human Type 2 inflammation.

Additionally, we have started to investigate how to target innate cells such as DCs and macrophages to enhance activation and function of adaptive immune cells during cancer.  Projects in this area include addressing the impact of graphene oxide sheets and their complexes with biomolecules, and heat killed environmental bacteria, on inflammatory networks and innate and adaptive immunity, using refined murine in vivo experimental approaches.

Our overarching goal is to transform fundamental understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which immune responses are initiated, maintained and regulated, to enable rational design of innovative therapies targeting cells or their products to combat Type 2 inflammatory disease and cancer. 



My group

Stefano Colombo - Postdoc

Grace Mallett - Postdoc

Alice Costain - Postdoc

Irene Nambuya - lab manager

Josh Hughes - final year PhD student

Sorayut Chattrakarn - final year PhD student

Ben Harrop - second year PhD student

Olivia Shorthouse - first year PhD student

Waad Alruwaili - first year PhD student


11 completed PhD students and 19 completed MSc/MRes students as principal supervisor.  Additionally, have supervised lab projects for >40 undergraduate, MSc/MRes or rotating PhD students.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Immune modulation by the parasitic nematode Brugia malayi, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 1999

Bachelor of Science, Parasitology, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1994

Areas of expertise

  • QR180 Immunology
  • Immunology
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Barrier Tissues
  • Allergy
  • helminth infection

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute


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