The Organising Committee of the 6th UK & Ireland NFκB Workshop

cw-photoDr Caroline Wilson (Chair)
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Institute of Cellular Medicine (ICM), Newcastle University

Dr Wilson was awarded a first class BSc (Hons) from Newcastle University (2006) in Immunology and Medical Microbiology. Later in 2006 she joined the Musculoskeletal Research Group for her PhD studies, where Caroline developed a system to study the presentation of a candidate joint auto-antigen by antigen-specific B cells. In 2010, Caroline was awarded her PhD and joined the lab of Prof Derek Mann, where she has developed an interest in the role of NFkB1 in chronic inflammation and liver cancer. In Caroline's recently published work she reported an important role for neutrophils as drivers of hepatocellular carcinoma. Mechanistic data from this study revealed an anti-tumour role for NFkB1 via p50:p50 mediated transcriptional repression of neutrophil recruiting chemokines. Caroline's current focus is aimed at understanding the cell-specific, tumour suppressor role of NFkB1 during chronic inflammation and cancer development.


Dr Jill Hunter (Co-chair)
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB), Newcastle University

Dr Hunter was awarded a BSc (Hons) from Manchester University (2007) in Medical Biochemistry and as part of this programme of study undertook a year placement at KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, investigating potential biomarkers to predict response to PARP-1 inhibitors, using proteomics. In 2007 she joined the lab of Prof Barbara Durkacz in the drug discovery team at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research for her PhD studies looking at how PARP-1 regulates NF-kB following DNA damage and TNF-alpha.

In 2011, Jill joined the lab of Prof Neil Perkins and has developed an interest in the role of RelA and c-Rel in the response to oncogene-induced replication stress. Her postdoctoral work has focused on developing in vivo models within the group, with her main interest being in hematological malignancies, in particular B-cell lymphoma.

adrianyemmmugshotDr Adrian Yemm
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB), Newcastle University

Adrian Yemm is a post-doctoral researcher working in Prof Neil Perkins lab.  He is currently part of a multidisciplinary team developing novel 3D biomaterials, and in his spare time, is attempting to unravel how different phosphorylation events on RelA have an effect on cellular signalling and behaviour and how these events are, in turn, regulated.


Professor Neil Perkins
Professor of Gene Expression and Signalling, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB), Newcastle University

Professor Perkins's PhD was completed in Graham Goodwin's laboratory at the Chester Beatty Laboratories, Institute of Cancer Research, London in 1990. This work concerned the investigation of chicken beta globin gene expression and resulted in the identification of the transcription factor that later became known as GATA1. From 1990 to 1996 Prof. Perkins was a postdoctoral researcher in Gary Nabel's laboratory, at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan, where his interest in the NF-κB transcription factor family began. Much of my postdoctoral work concerned the ability of NF-κB to function as a regulator of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 1. In 1996 Prof. Perkins moved to Dundee to start his own research group, before moving to Bristol in 2008 and then Newcastle in 2010 where he is the Professor of Gene Expression and Signalling.

Prof. Perkin's laboratory is interested in how NF-κB subunits are regulated by oncogenes, tumour suppressors and stimuli associated with cancer development and therapy. A theme emerging from these studies has been the importance of context for NF-κB activity and how subunits can both repress as well as activate gene targets, leading to alterations in cell fate. They have revealed the importance of post-translational modifications in controlling these activities and argued that the activity of parallel signalling pathways have a critical role in determining NF-κB dependent transcriptional output. Based on this work, together with that from other researchers, they propose that the concerted action of tumour suppressors functions to keep the oncogenic activities of NF-κB subunits in check and that loss of tumour suppressor activity during tumour development is required to unleash these anti apoptotic and pro-metastatic activities in malignant cancer cells.


Professor Fiona Oakley
Professor of Fibrosis biology, Fibrosis Research Group, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University

Fiona is the Chair of Fibrosis Biology in the Fibrosis Research Group at Newcastle University. Her research aims to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that promote wound healing and multi-organ fibrosis.

She has discovered that NF-kB is persistently up regulated in scar forming hepatic myofibroblasts (HM) in response to liver injury. NF-kB signalling promotes HM survival and perpetuation leading to the establishment of liver fibrosis.

Fiona is also interested in understanding the discrete biological functions of NF-kB subunits RelA, c-Rel and p50 in normal physiology and fibrotic disease.


Dr Iglika Ivanova
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB), Newcastle University

In 2007 Dr. Iglika Ivanova received a first class bachelor degree in Biotechnology from Perugia University, Italy. As part of her studies, she undertook a summer placement working on a new method for Duchene muscular dystrophy diagnostics at Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Additionally, she also conducted a six months research project at USUHS, USA in the immunology lab of Professor Brian Schaefer. Iglika was working on the role of the cytoskeleton in B cell receptor NF-kB signalling. There, Iglika developed an interest in cell signalling and molecular biology that she then took further into her PhD at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. She focused on DNA damaging and repair pathways at yeast telomeres and successfully defended he PhD viva in 2011.

Dr. Ivanova then joined Neil Perkins’ NF-kB laboratory at Newcastle as a post doctoral researcher. She is currently looking at the crosstalk of NF-kB with other stress pathways, such as hypoxia. Iglika is focusing on developing a wider range of molecular techniques and has a keen interest in gene editing as a tool to study cell signalling.


Dr Niall Kenneth
University Research Fellow, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences (ICaMB), Newcastle University

After completing his PhD at the University of Glasgow Dr Kenneth joined the research group of Dr Sonia Rocha at the University of Dundee to study gene expression changes in response to hypoxia and DNA damage, where he developed his long-standing interest in the activation of NF-κB and HIF . He then relocated to the University of Michigan, USA, to continue his work on NF-κB, focusing on the upstream signaling pathways that lead to its activation. In 2014 he returned to the UK having gained a fellowship at Newcastle University to establish his own independent research program.