Dr William Horsnell

United Kingdom
Scientific Field: 
July, 2017 to July, 2018

LE STUDIUM / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship 


University of Cape Town - ZA

In residence at

Experimental and Molecular Immunology and Neurogenetics (INEM) / CNRS, University of Orléans - FR

Host scientist

Dr Bernhard Ryffel


Targeting acetylcholine receptors to enhance immunity to acute viral infection

Recently studies have shown that acetylcholine (ACh), a neuro-transmitter, which regulates nerve and muscle functions, also strongly regulates the immune system. Immune cells can produce and release ACh to control local immune responses independently of the nervous system. The understanding of ACh mediated immunoregulation in disease is very limited. Here we will build on recent discoveries made by us that blocking ACh signaling can boost the ability of the immune system to control a viral infection in the lung. The infection we are studying is known as RSV and is the main cause of small children being hospitalized for breathing difficulties. Our project will show how blocking ACh can be used to develop new treatments for this and similar diseases such as influenza established in the host laboratory. This will be a major breakthrough as currently infection associated inflammation are difficult to treat.

Events organised by this fellow

Macrobiome: how helminths shape our immune system
Neurotransmitters: non-neuronal functions and therapeutic opportunities

Articles Published

  • Group 3 innate lymphoid cells mediate early protective immunity against tuberculosis

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  • Targeting acetylcholine receptors to enhance immunity to infection

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  • Zoonotic helminth exposure and risk of allergic diseases: A study of two generations in Norway

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  • Emergomyces africanus in Soil, South Africa

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  • Disruption of maternal gut microbiota during gestation alters offspring microbiota and immunity

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  • Elevated IgG Responses in Infants Are Associated With Reduced Prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection

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  • Chronic schistosomiasis suppresses HIVspecific responses to DNA-MVA and MVAgp140 Env vaccine regimens despite antihelminthic treatment and increases helminth-associated pathology in a mouse model

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  • Hookworm exposure decreases human papillomavirus uptake and cervical cancer cell migration through systemic regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition marker expression

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  • Helminth-induced IL-4 expands bystander memory CD8+ T cells for early control of viral infection

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  • Human Hookworm Infection Enhances Mycobacterial Growth Inhibition and Associates With Reduced Risk of Tuberculosis Infection

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