Ben obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham, studying medical sciences, undertaking final year modules in experimental immunology and immune tolerance. His dissertation project was run under the supervision of Dr John Curnow on markers of T cell anergy. It was in Dr Curnow’s lab Ben knew he wanted a career in science. This experience and indeed his degree developed his passion for immunology and immune tolerance, so he went on to study on the 1 year MRes + 3 year PhD programme at the University of Birmingham, supported by the MRC. He first worked with Dr Kai Toellner on the influence of atypical chemokine receptors on B cell responses, before moving over to the institute of cancer sciences to work with Dr Steve Lee on chimeric antigen receptor-based targeting of tumour vasculature antigens. His final project was working with us on the impact of CD4+ T cell transmigration across liver cells.
Ben’s PhD project focuses on how the liver microenvironment impacts on CD4+ T cell phenotype and function. He is continuing work initiated by our previous Masters student Dominik Niesen, which shows that when evaluating T cell function, it is important to consider the effects of migration through tissues.
Ben is working to develop more physiological models to study T cell interactions with the liver microenvironment. Ben’s PhD project is co-supervised by Professor Graham Anderson who specialises in T cell development, and Dr John Curnow, whose interest lies in the T cell response in health and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Ben has taken part in several public engagement activities such as the Big Bang Fair in March, and is also a STEM ambassador, promoting science careers for young people. In his spare time Ben plays badminton for a local club, and is the drummer in Birmingham-based progressive hardcore band Someone said Fire.