Professor of Clinical Immunology
Peter Gorer Department of Immunobiology, Kings College London
Mark Peakman trained in medicine at University College London and pursued postgraduate training in clinical immunology. After he received his PhD based on studies of the immune system in Type 1 diabetes (a childhood disease in which the cells that make insulin in the body are irreparably damaged by inflammation) he held a senior clinical research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. He subsequently returned to the UK and now oversees a research group at King’s College London in the Department of Immunobiology. The main focus of the research is the role of immune cells (T lymphocytes) in the aetiology of the autoimmune disease, Type 1 diabetes. In particular, the group has defined the critical targets for T cells that appear to have a role in the destruction of insulin-producing cells, and key immunological pathways through which this damage is mediated. More recently, the work has led to the definition of targets enabling the design of a novel approach to therapy. This strategy, termed “peptide immunotherapy” is the first of its kind in diabetes and further phases of this programme are ongoing. In the future, a better understanding of the role of the immune response in Type 1 diabetes will promote the further development of these novel therapeutics into the clinical setting.