IAmA respiratory infection researcher specialising in finding ways to develop better treatments and vaccines. AMA!
I’m Dr John Tregoning, Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London and Chair of an Imperial College animal Research ethics committee.
My research team and I study the body’s response to lung infections and use this information to develop better drugs and vaccines.
To achieve these aims, we have developed a range of cell culture and animal models of infection and vaccination. Ask Me Anything.
Globally, respiratory infection is the main cause of death and disease. Of particular concern is the rise of infections that are not treatable with antibiotics. My research aims to help us better understand how our body fights off infections, providing us with potential targets for new vaccines and new antibiotics.
The interactions in the human immune system following infection and vaccination are complex and not fully understood. This incomplete understanding means that experiments using either computer models or immune cells in isolation cannot fully reflect what is taking place in the human body. Therefore, animal models form an integral part of my studies, in particular they enable interventions to block or enhance different aspects of host defence.
The studies we perform closely reflect the work we do with samples from human patients. This overlap is critical in maximising our understanding. For example, our animal research demonstrated that when airway glucose is higher, there is more bacterial infection; which we have now shown in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This work has led to a clinical trial of novel interventions targeting the airway glucose.
But, research involving animals is never undertaken lightly. We use literature review and in silico analysis to identify approaches of interest and validate these approaches using in vitro systems before ever moving into animal models.
My commitment to reduce, refine and replace animal usage is reflected in my role as Chair of the animal research ethics committee (Animal Welfare and Review Body, AWERB) which reviews Imperial researchers’ animal research to guarantee the combination of best science with the highest standards of animal welfare (http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research/regulation/).
Respiratory infection research by me and my team:
- Role of airway glucose in bacterial infections in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (2017). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29310905
- Increased airway glucose increases airway bacterial load in hyperglycaemia (2016). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Increased+airway+glucose+increases+airway+bacterial+load+in+hyperglycaemia.
- Respiratory viral infections in infants: causes, clinical symptoms, virology, and immunology (2010). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20065326
My blog: http://drtregoning.blogspot.co.uk/
Animal research at Imperial College London: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research/
Animal research report 2016/17: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research/annual-report/
Article for the Imperial Medicine blog, ‘Reducing, refining and replacing the use of animals is crucial to respiratory research’ http://wwwf.imperial.ac.uk/blog/imperial-medicine/2018/06/27/reducing-refining-and-replacing-the-use-of-animals-is-crucial-to-respiratory-research/
UPDATE [11AM ET / 4PM BST]: And we’re LIVE!
Here’s proof that I’m here in person to answer your questions: https://twitter.com/imperialcollege/status/1014878209538748416?s=21
UPDATE [1PM ET / 6PM BST]: Thanks very much everyone for your great questions. I'm heading off for now but will be checking back in, so please do submit any more questions you may have.