Dr Ye Htun Oo from the Centre for Liver Research at the University of Birmingham has been awarded the 2016 Sir Francis Avery Jones Medal from the British Society of Gastroenterology in recognition of his T-cell research, and an innovative study he is due to lead starting in July 2016. 

Dr Ye Oo

This award is highly prestigious within its field and is great recognition of the research undertaken by Dr Oo and his team, which is supported by funding from the Medical Research Council and the NIHR Birmingham Liver BRU. 

Dr Oo is a clinician scientist and his research programme involves basic science with translational applications in understanding regulatory T-cell biology in the human liver. His forthcoming study looks at the role of how these regulatory T-cells get to the site of liver inflammation. Dr Oo explains:

“Regulatory T-cells are known as the ‘police’ of the immune system.  We will be taking immune cells from patients, extracting the regulatory T-cell and infusing them with a marker, then returning it to the same patient.  The aim is that inflammation in the liver will activate a type of homing signal, which allows the regulatory T-cell it to find its way to the liver, and control the inflammation.  If the stage 1 pilot study goes well, a stage 2 therapy study would follow.”

Although the study will look at liver inflammation caused by autoimmune hepatitis, if successful it could have wider implications for other autoimmune liver diseases and other organ specific autoimmune diseases

On being notified of the award Dr Oo said, “This is a highly competitive award so I feel humble to win. It is also superb recognition of our autoimmune research programme and highlights Birmingham on the global cell therapy research map in autoimmunity”.

As part of the award, Dr Oo was plenary speaker at the British Society for Gastroenterology’s annual meeting on the 21st June, presenting to approximately 2000 colleagues.

Explore further research from the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy at the University of Birmingham