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      Research Interests

      Dr Dombrowski’s research focuses on immune mechanisms in tissue damage and repair. Tissue damage can occur in infectious (e.g. bacteria, virus, fungi) or sterile settings (e.g. trauma, autoimmune attack). The Dombrowski group is primarily interested in the underlying immunological mechanisms that direct tissue repair and regeneration with the goal to identify novel therapeutic targets for immune-mediated diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

      Despite driving pathology in many diseases, the immune system is required for tissue regeneration. Innate immune receptors sense disruption of tissue homeostasis initiating a regenerative immune response that leads to the repair of the damaged tissue. Our central goal is to elucidate the mechanisms of regenerative inflammation in particular the role of the innate immune system in myelin regeneration in MS.

      In MS the myelin sheath that covers nerve fibres is damaged due to an autoimmune attack against proteins in the myelin sheath. As a result the nerve fibres die leading to a loss of function, which can result in paralysis and other neurodegenerative symptoms. There is no cure for MS to date and there are no therapies that can restore damaged myelin in order to prevent nerve loss.

      Current projects of the group investigate the function of inflammasomes during myelin damage and regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS) and the effects of IL-1 cytokines on oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, stem cell-like cells in the CNS that produce myelin. Other projects in the group investigate the role of inflammasomes in regenerative inflammation after infectious tissue damage and the role of e-cigarette vapour as an inflammasome activator. 

      Dr Dombrowski is has published her work in high-impact journals (e.g. Nature Neuroscience 2017) and her research has been recognized in prestigious awards including an Early Career Fellowship from The Leverhulme Trust and the invitation to the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting for Physiology and Medicine as one of ten UK representatives. 


      Join the team!

      The Dombrowski group is welcoming applications from enthusiastic and ambitious students and postdoctoral researchers who wish to work at the cutting-edge of regenerative immunology. Please contact Dr Yvonne Dombrowski for further information (



      Group Members

      Research Fellow Dr Laura Gritti

      Research Assistant Dr Pol O'Catnaigh


      PhD students

      Daniel Crooks, 2017-present

      Jenny Moi Fong Lau, 2017-present

      Rachael Bell, 2016-present


      Master's students:

      Gerry Mullan (intercalated MRes) 2017-present

      Philomena Ni Earcain (MRes) 2017-present

      Sarah Kuhn (MSci, external from LMU Munich) 2018


      Bachelor students (2017-2018)

      Lauren Kelly

      Arianne Moore

      Ian Devine





      Achievements and Distinctions

      Selected Awards


      Reserach grants from the Royal Society, the Fritz-Thyssen-Foundation, the Freemasons of Ireland Medical Research Fund

      The Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship 

      64th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting for Physiology and Medicine  (1 of 10 Royal Society selected UK representatives)

      Best poster at the Irish Society of Immunology Meeting (2015)

      Best Postdoctoral Researcher of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Annual Celebration of Excellence (2014)

      British Neuropathological Society Pilot Grant (2013)

      Best talk at the German Society of Dermatology Research (ADF) Meeting (2012)




      Invited speaker


      2017 University Milan-Bicocca, 15th Nov 2017, seminar on "Regenerative inflammationi in the CNS: Innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in myelin repair"

      2017 NUI Galway, CURAM, 14th Aug 2017, seminar on “Immunoregeneration in the CNS: Innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in myelin repair”

      2017 MS Frontiers, Edinburgh, 29th-30th June 2017, "Inflammasomes are expressed in murine CNS lesions and inflammasome products IL-1beta and IL-18 promote myelin production"

      2017 5th REMERGE Symposium, 26th June 2017, “Immunoregeneration in the CNS: Innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in myelin repair”

      2017 Inaugural MS Research Symposium, Belfast, 9th May 2017, "Inflammasomes in Remyelination: Friend or Foe?"

      2016 Gordon Research Seminar Myelin, 14th-15th May 2016, Renaissance Il Ciocco, Tuscany, Italy, talk on “Regulatory T cells are required for oligodendrocyte differentiation in demyelinated CNS lesions”

      2016 Kenneth B Fraser Symposium, 19th Apr 2016, Belfast, UK, talk on “Innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in the CNS”

      2015 University of Manchester, 1st Dec 2015, Manchester, UK, seminar on “Innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in the CNS”

      2015 3rd Translational Immunology Conference, 29th-30th Oct 2015, Würzburg, Germany, talk on “Regulatory T cells promote myelin regeneration in the CNS”

      2014 British Neuropathological Society Meeting, 5th-7th March 2014, London, UK, talk on “Toxin mediated FoxP3+ cell depletion: Impact on remyelination”

      2013 Irish Society of Immunology Meeting, 12th-13th Sept 2013, Dublin, Ireland, talk on “Toxin mediated FoxP3+ cell depletion: Impact on remyelination?”

      2013 MS Frontiers, 9th–10th May 2013,London, UK, talk on “Impact of anti-inflammatory FoxP3+ cells in toxin-induced demyelination in vivo”

      2012 7th German Allergy Congress, 11th-13th Oct 2012, Munich, Germany, talk on “Honey bee venom induces AIM2 inflammasome activation in human keratinocytes”





      Teaching modules


      BMS2106 The Science of Disease

      • Lectures: Sensing Danger, Transplantation, Tumour Immunology
      • Immunology tutorials

      BMS3012 Advanced Neuroscience

      • Lecture: Molecular basis of demyelination

      MED2016 Student Selective Component Multiple Sclerosis: Much done much to do

      • Lecture, tutorials and practical (immunohistochemistry)

      SCM8097 MRes Translational Medicine

      • Lectures: Inflammasomes in health and disease

      MED1012 Portfolio tutor

      BMS2016 Immunobiology (2012-2017)

      PODT Medicine Pathology of Disease (2014-2016)




      MRes Students

      Gerry Mullan 2017-2018

      Project: Investigating the role of inflammasomes in CNS repair

      Philomena Ni Earcain 2017-2018

      Project: Understanding the nature and role of inflammasome activation in patients with ARDS

      Daniel Crooks 2016-2017

      Project: Identifying the roles of inflammasomes in brain repair

      • - Poster prize, 5th REMERGE Symposium 2017

      Samantha Gallaher 2016-2017

      Project: Identifying the impact of inflammasomes on lung stem cells

      • - Prize competition finalist, 5th REMERGE Symposium 2017

      Natasha Boylan 2015-2016

      Project: Identification of the effect of IL-1beta and IL-18 on oligodendrocyte lineage cells

      Samara Fleville 2014-2015

      Project: Inflammasomes in Central Nervous System Demyelination and Remyelination

      • - Poster prize, Pathological Society Annual Meeting 2016
      • - Best oral presentation, 3rd REMERGE Symposium 2015



      BSc Students

      Lauren Kelly 2017-2018

      ProjectIdentifying the role of inflammasomes in lung repair

      Arianne Moore 2017-2018

      Project: Identifying inflammasomes in brain repair

      Ian Devine 20167-2018

      ProjectInvestigating the inflammatory potential of e-cigarettes on lung cells

      Lydia Roets 2016-2017

      Project: Identifying inflammasomes in brain repair

      Georgiana Parau 2016-2017

      Project: Identifying danger signals in sterile inflammation in spinal cord damage

      Amy Evans 2016-2017 (Literature review module)

      Project: Regenerative inflammation

      Daniel Crooks 2015-2016

      Project: Investigation of the expression of IL-1beta in the demyelinated CNS

      Calum Macdonald 2015-2016

      Project: Investigating the expression of IL-1alpha in demyelinated/remyelinating CNS lesions

      Andre O. Borba 2014-2015 (Literature review module)

      Project: The influence of inflammasome activity on Multiple Sclerosis pathogenicity



      Summer Students and Internships

      Lise Pradat (University of Auvergne, France) 2018

      Mattias Mehmed (QUB) 2018

      Samuel Moore (University of Cambridge) 2017

      Anne-Laure Boinet (Ecole Nationale Superieure de Technologie des Biomolecules de Bordeaux) 2017

      Andre B. Olivera (QUB) 2014

      Samara Fleville (QUB) 2013 & 2014

      Maeve Moore (QUB) 2014







      Frequent Journals

      • Archives of Dermatological Research

        ISSNs: 0340-3696

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1432-069X

        Springer Verlag

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 2.37 SJR 0.996 SNIP 0.895


      • Experimental Dermatology

        ISSNs: 0906-6705

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1600-0625


        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 2.42 SJR 1.136 SNIP 0.93


      • Nature Neuroscience

        ISSNs: 1097-6256

        Nature Publishing Group

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 13.31 SJR 14.096 SNIP 3.771


      • Cancer Research

        ISSNs: 0008-5472

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1538-7445

        American Association for Cancer Research Inc.

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 8.55 SJR 4.753 SNIP 1.986


      • Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

        ISSNs: 0091-6749

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1097-6825

        Mosby Inc.

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 6.87 SJR 5.33 SNIP 2.886


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      Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

      ID: 1587916