Junior Group Leader
In the Thornton group, we are interested in the mucosal immune system, particularly the interaction in the immune compartments of the gut and lungs. During her PhD with Max Krummel at UCSF, Emily developed intravital microscopy techniques to study allergen-specific T cells in the lung. Upon moving to the Powrie lab at the University of Oxford, she focused the microscope on ILCs and microbe-reactive T cells in the gut. Combining expertise in the two immune compartments, the new research group will focus on the potential for the immune system at one mucosal site to influence the other.
Recent work in the lab has focused on the immune response in the gut to SARS-CoV2 infection. As a site of infection and home to a large population of immune cells, the gut has the potential to skew the systemic response for good or ill. Emily and the first member of the Thornton lab Dana Costigan have worked with the ISARIC4C consortium, collaborators at Imperial College, and Oxford Vaccine Group.
Future work in the group will apply on our growing knowledge of immune regulation in the gut to lung immunology.
In addition to science, Emily enjoys baking and spending time with her family. You can find her on twitter @emilyethornton. Outside the lab, Dana enjoys reading, baking and musical theatre @costigan_dana.
MHC class II antigen presentation by intestinal epithelial cells fine-tunes bacteria-reactive CD4 T cell responses
Heuberger CE. et al, (2023)
A conserved population of MHC II-restricted, innate-like, commensal-reactive T cells in the gut of humans and mice.
Hackstein C-P. et al, (2022), Nat Commun, 13