Celebrate Women in Science with Kidney Wales.
We are proud that we have multiple women led research projects ongoing for patients in Wales.
Meet Dr Rebecca Aicheler. Dr. Aicheler is a senior lecturer in immunology working at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Although Rebecca does not have a direct connection to Chronic Kidney Disease, she is very passionate about her research with us.
Dr. Aicheler is currently supporting the research of Cardiff Met PhD student, Lauren Jones. Lauren will be working on a project, supported by Kidney Wales, to research into Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a widespread virus that affects approximately 60-70% of people in the developed world.
Rebecca works 4 days a week at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has been investigating the immune response to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) for 19 years, completing her PhD in 2005. HCMV is a clinically important pathogen but her work has always been laboratory based. The collaboration with Kidney Wales is exciting to Dr. Aicheler because it will enable her to apply existing knowledge and expertise around HCMV to help to answer a direct clinical question which will have a positive impact on patients within Wales and the world.
The full title of the project is: Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) Encoded Interleukin-10 (vIL-10): Investigating the Immunomodulatory Effects of vIL-10 and its Suitability as a Novel Marker of Viral Reactivation in Kidney Transplant Patients
This is a KESS2 funded PhD and Kidney Wales are the charity partner.
Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), a widespread virus that affects approximately 60-70% of people in the developed world. After initial infection with HCMV, it remains dormant in the body but may reactivate in individuals during their lifetime, this is particularly dangerous for kidney transplant patients. PhD student Lauren Jones, will explore the whether the reactivation of HCMV in kidney transplant patients can be detected using a novel biomarker of the virus called vIL-10. We are also interested in determining how vIL-10 may modulate the immune response in these patients.
There will be three stages to the project:
- To establish a method of detecting the virally secreted protein IL-10 in the blood of kidney transplant patients
- To understand how the variation of viral IL-10 from patient to patient affects their clinical outcome
- To understand how viral IL-10 influences the cells of the immune system (particularly NK cells) when faced with a HCMV infection
Dr. Aicheler says “Overall, the proposed study will provide insight into why certain HCMV strains and/or patient immune responses predispose kidney transplant patients to severe HCMV disease, and will aim to identify means to improve antiviral immunity in these individuals. Further, this work aims to identify and validate a novel biomarker for HCMV reactivation that will enable clinicians to effectively manage HCMV infection in this patient group, and thus ultimately minimise patient suffering and reduce length of patient stay in hospital. “
“The collaboration with Kidney Wales is exciting because it will enable me to apply my knowledge and expertise around HCMV to help to answer a direct clinical question which will have a positive impact on patients within Wales and the world.”
We are so thrilled to be working collaboratively with Rebecca and Lauren. We truly believe in their work and are excited to see what the future holds.
Read more about Laurens medical research and how it aims to detect dormant virus in kidney transplant patients and reduce hospital stays here: https://www.kidneywales.cymru/news/2020/03/11/new-medical-research-aims-detect-dormant-virus-kidney-transplant-patients-reduce-hospital-stays/
See how you can be involved in Paula’s research here: https://www.kidneywales.cymru/news/2020/12/10/kidney-wales-funds-research-young-adults-chronic-kidney-disease-wales/
Kidney disease and pregnancy choices – what support do women need?: https://www.kidneywales.cymru/news/2020/10/27/kidney-disease-pregnancy-choices/