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Manchester Immunology Group

Professor Silvia Bulfone-Paus

Silvia Bulfone-paus
Silvia Bulfone-paus

Professor Bulfone-Paus was recently appointed as Professor of Immunobiology in the School of Translational Medicine.

The group is devoted to contribute dissecting the complex network of receptor and adaptor proteins involved in regulating IgE-mediated mast cell (MC) degranulation in particular those involved in the early phase of MC activation. Immune responses must be carefully regulated because their malfunction can cause an array of disorders among these are allergies and asthma, which occur due to an overly exuberant immune response. Mast cells belong to the multipotent effector cells of the immune system. Participating not only in the wound-healing-process, angiogenesis and neurogene inflammation, the function of the MC exceeds the modulation of anaphylaxis. Since MCs are richly loaded with pre-stored cytokines the focus of the laboratory is to investigate the role of mast cell-expressed cytokines in the regulation of mast cell protease activity. Furthermore, interleukin-15 (IL-15), its receptor and signal transduction mechanisms serve as the object of our investigations.


I am currently holding a 20% faculty appointment as Professor of Immunobiology. I am also director of the Department of Immunology and Cell Biology at the University of Lübeck Medical School and a member of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Kiel.

I joined the University of Lübeck in October 2000 after having completed my Habilitation in Immunology at the Free University Berlin, where I had served as Acting Director of the Institute of Immunology. Born in Turin, Italy, I studied Medicine at the Turin Medical and pursued PhD studies in Human Genetics at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.

In 1994 I returned to Europe, Berlin, for my post-doc studies. In the laboratory of Prof Tibor Diamantstein I started to investigate the biology of cytokines and their receptors, with emphasis on the newly discovered IL-15. From 1995 to 2000, acting as independent investigator and deputy head of department, I went on to study IL-15 functions as an important regulator of innate and adaptive immune responses.  

See my Faculty profile for more information.

Lab group members

[-] Hilary Sandig (PostDoc)

My interest in the regulation of the immune system led me to Manchester to join Prof Bulfone-Paus's new group. We are working to improve our understanding of how mast cell activation is regulated.

Prior to joining the Manchester Immunology Group I was working as a postdoctoral researcher in Prof David's laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. I worked on several projects over two years investigating different aspects of the interferon response, and became very interested in the innate immune system. I moved to San Diego from a postdoctoral position at King's College London, in the Department of Asthma, Allergy and Respiratory Science, studying the role of novel genes that are differentially expressed by human Th1 and Th2 cells. I completed my PhD and undergraduate studies at Imperial College, London. During my PhD, I researched the effects of prostaglandin D2 on eosinophils in the Leukocyte Biology Section.

[-] Cath Jobbings

I did my degree in genetics at the University of York and my MPhil in microbiology at the University of Manchester.  My research was on copper sensing in Salmonella typhimurium with the aim of understanding the role of metals in the phagosome during infection of macrophages. This was how I became interested in bacteria-immune cell interactions. I have since worked on Streptococcus pneumoniae investigating the role of natural competence. My research specifically focused on the role of competence-dependent killing in bacterial competitions and the differences between liquid cultures and solid surfaces.

I have recently started working on mast cells as a member of the Manchester Immunology Group.  With my background I am particularly interested in the role of bacteria in mast cell biology.