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Professor Felicity Gavins

Professor Felicity Gavins
Professor - Pharmacology

Research area(s)

The principle focus of our research is to develop anti-inflammatory strategies that promote the resolution of thrombo-inflammation following ischaemia reperfusion injury (I/RI) in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and in clinical settings such as organ transplantation.

Within the continuum of an inflammatory response, the objective of our research is to study the role of the microvasculature as a dynamic-interface between circulating blood cells and immune cells (such as neutrophils and platelets) and tissue. We focus on how circulating cells communicate, adhere and migrate across the endothelium and the pathways by which these circulating and resident cells can render systemic inflammatory responses and alter local inflammatory and thrombotic states. By targeting the pathophysiology of endogenous pro-resolving pathways such as the Annexin A1-Formyl Peptide Receptor (AnxA1-FPR) pathway, we hope to identify novel and innovative anti-inflammatory therapeutics for the treatment of thrombo-inflammatory conditions/diseases e.g. sepsis and sickle cell disease (SCD).

Our research crosses the boundaries between Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology and uses multidisciplinary approaches to advance understanding of the vascular physiology and pathophysiology of inflammatory and related disorders, at the molecular, cellular, tissue and whole organism levels. To achieve this goal, we employ a number of advanced imaging platforms, including: intravital microscopy and spinning disc confocal intravital microscopy (allowing for rigorous assessment of cellular trafficking in vivo in real-time); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); positron emission tomography (PET); single photon emission tomography (SPECT); and in vivo imaging systems (IVIS).

Neutrophils release their extracellular traps (NETs)

Leukocytes and platelets in an inflamed cerebral pial vessel (image captured using intravital microscopy)

Research Interests

  • Resolution of thrombo-inflammation
  • Neutrophil-Platelet interactions
  • Ischaemia reperfusion injury (I/RI)
  • Formyl Peptide Receptors (FPRs)
  • Annexin A1 Biology
  • Transplantation
  • Inflammageing
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Nanomedicine
  • Inflammation in Cancer

Research supervision

I have supervised a number of basic and clincal Ph.D. Students and post-doctoral fellows.

Grants

Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship
Funder: Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship
Duration: August 2019 - August 2024
Investigating the dysfunction of the cerebral microvasculature in sickle cell disease
Funder: 1. The National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI)
Duration: April 2017 - April 2021
A novel role for neutrophils in sickle cell disease: new avenues to target cerebral microvascular dysfunction
Funder: The American Heart Association (AHA) Innovation Grant
Duration: January 2016 - December 2017
Understanding cerebral microvasculature dysfunction in sickle cell disease
Funder: 5. The National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI)
Duration: September 2015 - August 2017