Showing articles associated with William James

Formerly the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Planning and Resources, Professor James passion for the lab led to him returning to the Dunn School of Pathology in 2017. Since then, he has continued his work on stem cells, neurodegenerative disorders, and HIV.

What is your main area(s) of interest/expertise?

My work is focused on tissue macrophages, essential sentinels for combatting disease within the body, and how pathogens such as HIV circumnavigate these defence mechanisms. We’ve found that their persistence in macrophages appear to generate chronic inflammatory reactions that may result in neurocognitive disorders. Much of my work is on developing models which could lead to new therapeutics to support tissue macrophages. 

What are you working on right now?

Our main focus is building the Oxford SARS-CoV-2 virus facility, a core pan-university facility and associated Health Trusts for SARS-CoV-2 culture and characterization, and the quantification of antiviral activity of a range of experimental therapeutic materials being developed by many Oxford-Collaborating groups. This facility is supporting a number of projects across the University in the effort to combat COVID-19. For example, this week we are testing whether local clinical samples with low viral RNA actually have infectious virus in them. If we can give them a clean bill of health, it will apparently have enormous positive impact on the capacity of the NHS to handle samples, and help health care workers return to the front line when it’s safe for them to do so. We’re also using our unparalleled expertise in human stem cell technology, leveraging our pioneering, genetically tractable, tissue macrophage model, and complementing it with methods of lung epithelial cell differentiation. This will provide an experimental platform for investigating fundamental issues of cell type cross-talk in relation to SARS-CoV-2 replication and pathogenesis.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in this field of research?

By drawing on the unique wealth of talent at Oxford, we’re able to build and co-ordinate a truly pan-University effort to tackle COVID-19. We’re collaborating with a number of groups, in particular the groups of Professors Quentin Sattentau’s Alain Townsend, Philip Goulder and Paul Klenerman, in this endeavour.

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William James