Accelerating Breakthrough Discoveries into Medicines

2014 Oxford-Harrington Scholar

Alison Simmons, MD, PhD

Alison Simmons, MD, PhD

Professor Simmons is NIHR Professor of Gastroenterology and Honorary Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Translational Gastroenterology Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital and Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford.

Professor Simmons is investigating the function of innate immune receptors in anti-microbial defense and inflammation.

Professor Simmons has explored the function of the pattern recognition receptor NOD2. She has defined functions for NOD2 in autophagy induction and immunoregulation that are defective in Crohn’s disease. More recently she has used large-scale molecular approaches to define signaling induced by NOD2 in human cells. This has revealed NOD2 activates the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 to direct multiple innate functional outputs of NOD2 and that its activation is defective in Crohn’s. The lab have developed biomarkers of this pathway that are being used to identify suitable therapeutic targets to repair NOD2 signaling defects in Crohn’s and to stratify patients in this disease.