Yvonne Dombrowski
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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 has published her work in high-impact journals (e.g. Nature Neuroscience) and her research has been recognized in prestigious awards including an Early Career Fellowship from The Leverhulme Trust, the MS Society Reserach of the Year award 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 (y.dombrowski@qub.ac.uk).



    Current Group Members

    Research Fellow Dr Laura Gritti

    Research Assistant Dr Katherine Feeney


    PhD students

    Sarah Kuhn, 2018-present

    Topic: Identifying innate immune mechanisms in myelin regeneration in models of Multiple Sclerosis

    Daniel Crooks, 2017-present

    Topic: Identifying molecular targets for brain repair in Multiple Sclerosis

    Jenny Moi Fong Lau, 2017-present

    Topic: Investigating the role of inflammasomes in tissue repair

    Rachael Bell, 2016-present

    Topic: Effect of e-cigarette vapour on macrophage function and pulmonary inflammation


    MSc student:

    Gemma McIlwaine 2018-present


    Researcher Volunteers

    Emma McKay (workplacement student 2018-2019, Biological Sciences, QUB)

    Tara Berthelon (workplacement student 2019-2020, Pharmacy, QUB)




    Selected Awards

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

    The Leverhulme Trust career development fellowship 

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

    MS Society Awards 2018 Best Research 

    Best flash talk, International Society for Neuroimmunology Meeting, Sydney (2018)

    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 (selection)

    2019 MS Symposium Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, 23rd May 2019 (keynote speaker)

    2019 University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 19th March 2019

    2019 La Jolla Institute for Immunology, La Jolla, California, 15th March 2019

    2017 University Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy, 15th Nov 2017

    2017 National University of Ireland Galway, CURAM, 14th Aug 2017, Galway, Ireland

    2017 MS Frontiers, Edinburgh, 29th-30th June 2017

    2017 5th REMERGE Symposium, 26th June 2017, Belfast

    2017 Inaugural MS Research Symposium, Belfast, 9th May 2017

    2016 Gordon Research Seminar Myelin, 14th-15th May 2016, Renaissance Il Ciocco, Tuscany, Italy

    2016 Kenneth B Fraser Symposium, 19th Apr 2016, Belfast

    2015 University of Manchester, 1st Dec 2015, Manchester, UK

    2015 3rd Translational Immunology Conference, 29th-30th Oct 2015, Würzburg, Germany

    2014 British Neuropathological Society Meeting, 5th-7th March 2014, London, UK

    2013 Irish Society of Immunology Meeting, 12th-13th Sept 2013, Dublin, Ireland

    2013 MS Frontiers, 9th–10th May 2013,London, UK






    Teaching modules


    BMS2106 The Science of Disease (Co-coordinator)

    • Lectures: Innate and adaptive immunity, Sensing Infection, Transplantation, Tumour Immunology, Autoimmunity, Tolerance & Immunoregulation
    • 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: Sensing infection, Hypersensitivity & Allergy, Autoimmunity

    MED1012 ePortfolio tutor

    BMS2016 Immunobiology (2012-2017)

    PODT Pathology of Disease (2014-2016)




    MSc Students

    Gemma McIlwaine 2018-2019

    Sarah Kuhn (MSc, in collaboration with LMU Munich) 2018


    MRes Students

    Gerry Mullan 2017-2018

    Project: Investigating the role of inflammasomes in CNS repair

    • Best poster, QUAMS 2018
    • Travel award Pathological Society 2018

    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

    Rachel Browne Murray 2018-2019

    Project: IL-18 mediated regulation of oligodendrocyte lineage cells in demyelinated CNS lesions

    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

    Alice Adams (QUB Medicine) 2019

    Lise Pradat (University of Auvergne, France) 2018, Erasmus student

    Mattias Mehmed (QUB) 2018, BSI summer studentship

    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







    Willingness to take PhD students


    Frequent Journals

    • Archives of Dermatological Research

      ISSNs: 0340-3696

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1432-069X

      Springer Verlag

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 2.44 SJR 0.92 SNIP 0.963


    • Experimental dermatology

      ISSNs: 0906-6705

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1600-0625


      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 2.45 SJR 1.153 SNIP 0.896


    • Clinical Cancer Research

      ISSNs: 1078-0432

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1557-3265, 1078-0432

      American Association for Cancer Research Inc.

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 8.32 SJR 4.965 SNIP 1.847


    • The British journal of nutrition

      ISSNs: 0007-1145

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1475-2662

      Cambridge University Press

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 3.85 SJR 1.53 SNIP 1.237


    • Human reproduction

      ISSNs: 0268-1161

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1460-2350

      Oxford University Press

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 5.12 SJR 2.616 SNIP 2.04


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      Activity: Hosting a visitor typesHosting an academic visitor

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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 1587916