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Lars Fugger Head of OCNI
Kate Attfield
Junior PI
Gurman Kaur
Postdoctoral Fellow
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Suneale Banerji
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Max Kaufmann
Clinical Research Fellow
Dr Anna Francis
NMO Clinical Fellow
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Angelos Armen
Postdoctoral Statistician
Subita Balaram Kuttikkatte
Research Assistant
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Dr Hayley Evans Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate

Hayley completed her BSc in Applied and Human Biology at Aston University spending time researching at the WHO Influenza Centre, National Institute for Medical Research. Following this she took up a Ph.D with Dr Leonie Taams at King’s College London working on the induction, function and regulation of human Th17 cells. In 2010 Hayley moved as a Postdoc with the laboratory to the newly created Centre for Molecular & Cellular Biology of Inflammation (CMCBI) under the directorship of Prof. Frederic Geissmann. Here she worked closely with academic, clinical and industrial collaborators to examine the plasticity of CD4+ T helper cells in rheumatoid arthritis and response to therapy. In 2013 Hayley moved to the Oxford Centre for Neuroinflammation as a postdoctoral researcher where she set up the use of CRISPR genome editing to help examine the role of GWAS associated SNPs in multiple sclerosis. As a senior postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Fugger Hayley worked a number of multiomic projects combining protein, transcriptomic, and epigenetic analysis at the single cell level to identify novel treatment approach for Multiple Sclerosis. 

Dr Christiane Desel Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate

Christiane has a long-standing interest in cellular immunology, especially on how adaptive immune responses are generated upon activation of innate immune cells. She obtained her PhD at the Max-Planck Institute for Infection Biology with Prof. S.H.E. Kaufmann in Berlin, Germany where she analyzed vaccine-induced antigen-specific T cell responses in the lung. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. R. Lang at the Institute for Clinical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene at the University Hospital Erlangen, Germany. There she characterized glycolipid-mediated activation of the C-type lectin receptor Mincle, for which she was awarded a young investigators ELAN grant from the University Hospital Erlangen in 2013. Christiane joined the Fugger lab in 2014 and is now worked as a senior postdoc focussed on identification of disease causing pathways and the role of MS susceptibility variants with an emphasis on non-immune cell mediated mechanisms. She was also involved in international collaborations to explore novel cutting edge technology in order to elucidate disease progression and neuroinflammation.

Dr Oliva Thomas PhD Postdoctoral Fellow

Olivia completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds where she studied medical microbiology with a focus on immunology. Following this she studied for a PhD at the School of Cancer Sciences at University of Birmingham, working in the T cell research group under Prof Alan Rickinson. Her PhD project investigated T cell and antibody responses to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in multiple sclerosis patients, and also explored cross-reactivity of virus-specific T cell responses with central nervous system proteins. During her studies at Birmingham, Olivia also completed a brief placement funded by Universitas21 and the British Society for Immunology in Prof Scott Burrow’s lab at the Queensland Institute for Medical Research, Brisbane. Following her PhD, Olivia continued working at the University of Birmingham with Dr Graham Taylor as a research assistant on several projects, including an epidemiological study of Herpesviruses in collaboration with researchers at University College London and on a clinical trial of EBV vaccination in cancer patients from Hong Kong. 

Dr Maria Aggelakopoulou PhD Postdoctoral Fellow

Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Democritus University in Alexandroupolis, Greece. She obtained her Ph.D from the Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, working with Dr Vily Panoutsakopoulou at the Cellular Immunology Laboratory of Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens. There, she elucidated the role of the neurosteroid dehydroepiandrosterone in the regulation of Th17 and T regulatory responses in the context of EAE. In 2012 Maria continued as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the same laboratory, investigating the role of estrogen receptor beta in the regulation of central nervous system autoimmunity and Th17 responses. In 2016 Maria joined the laboratory of Prof. Lars Fugger as a Postdoctoral Researcher where she worked alongside Dr Gurman Kaur.

Dr Adrián Cortés PhD Senior Postdoctoral Statistician 

Adrián received his PhD in 2014 from The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The focus of his dissertation was on the genetics of ankylosing spondylitis, a common form of inflammatory disease. Before that he studied Mathematics (BSc) and Bioinformatics (MSc) at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is originally from Cuernavaca, Mexico. He joined the Fugger (WIMM) and McVean (WTCHG) groups in June of 2014. He worked on the genetics of immune-mediate diseases and developed statistical methods for the joint analysis of genetic and functional genomics datasets for better understanding the effects of susceptibility variants in the predisposition to disease. 


Cortes A, Dendrou C, Motyer A, Jostins L, Vukcevic D, et al. Bayesian analysis of genetic association across tree-structured routine healthcare data in the UK Biobank. Nature Genetics, 2017.

Dr Søren Færgeman M.D. DPhil Student

After having received his MD from Aarhus University in 2013, Søren Færgeman obtained basic clinical training in internal medicine and surgery at The National Hospital of the Faroe Islands, thus acquiring the license to practice medicine in Denmark. Since then, he has worked as a clinician at The Department of Clinical Neurology, Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, before joining Lars Fugger's lab as D.Phil. student in October 2014.


Medical school sparked an interest in clinical neurosciences, which in 2010 led to his research on the role of potassium channels and aquaporins in multiple sclerosis under the supervision of Professor Lars Fugger, University of Oxford and Professor Jørgen Frøkiær, Aarhus University Hospital. Søren's D.Phil. project focused on the role of rare genetic variants in the development of multiple sclerosis.

Dr Calli Dendrou Ph.D. 2010-2017. Postdoc and Senior Postdoctoral Fellow


After completing her degree in 2009 she joined the laboratory of Prof Lars Fugger as a postdoctoral researcher to investigate how the data explosion arising from advances in genomics can be converted into clinically relevant information - in particular through comparative analyses across different diseases. To date this has led to the first study demonstrating that elucidating the functional impact of disease-associated genetic variation can have important implications for predicting clinical outcome. Calli won the Thomas Willis Early Career Researcher Prize in 2013 and the Oxford Multiple Sclerosis Young Investigator Award in 2014. 

In 2017 Calli moved to the Henry Wellcome Building of Genomic Medicine to begin her career as a PI. The key research interests of her group are to better understand the architecture of genetic predisposition across different autoimmune and immune-mediated diseases, and to explore the functional relevance and potential clinical utility of such cross-comparisons.


Dendrou CA, Cortes A, Shipman L, Evans HG, Attfield KE, et al.  Resolving TYK2 locus genotype-to-phenotype differences in autoimmunity. Science Translational Medicine, 2016.

Dr Lydia Shipman, D.Phil. 2009-2013. D.Phil. Student


Dr Shipman was introduced to cell biology and immunophenotyping techniques that were used to address the biological implications of an MS-protective genetic variant. Dr Shipman is now a senior copy editor at Nature Reviews Immunology, London, UK.


Dr Aiden Haghikia MD, Ph.D. 2010-2012. Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Haghikia learned molecular biology and next generation sequencing techniques relating to the investigation of drug-dependent side effects in MS. Dr Haghikia is currently a consultant neurologist and associate professor at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.


Dr Adam P. Gregory, D.Phil. 2009-2012. D.Phil. Student

Dr Gregory was introduced to a range of different molecular and cellular biology techniques relating to the demonstration of a striking parallel between the functional consequences of an MS risk variant and a failed clinical trial in MS. Dr Gregory is a patent law assistant at Mewburn Ellis LLP, Manchester, UK.


Dr Sandra Vergo, D.Phil. 2006-2011. D.Phil. Student and Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Vergo was introduced to the use of transgenic mouse models and learnt how to perform extensive immunohistochemical analysis of CNS tissue, in the context of a drug repositioning strategy that targeted the neurodegenerative phase of MS. Since then Dr Vergo has worked as a researcher at Novo Nordisk A/S and is now a senior research scientist at Lundbeck A/S, Denmark.


Dr Ruth Etzensperger, D.Phil. 2005-2011. D.Phil. Student and Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Etzensperger was introduced to molecular immunology with emphasis on MS. She learned how to generate humanized mouse models of MS and how to analyse them in clinical, immunological and histopathological terms. Dr Etzensperger is a postdoctoral fellow at the NCI, NIH, USA. 


Prof Dr Manuel A. Friese, MD, Ph.D. 2004-2008. Postdoctoral Fellow

Prof Dr Friese learned how to generate and utilize humanized mice as models for MS. He used these mice to address how MS associated risk genes confer risk to MS through their action on the inflammatory and the neurodegenerative arms of the disease. Prof Dr Friese is a professor of neuroimmunology and a consultant neurologist at the Clinical MS Research Center, University-Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.


Dr Jon W. Gregersen, MD, Ph.D. 2001-2005. Ph.D. Student

Dr Gregersen learned how to generate and utilize humanized mice as models for MS to assess functional epistasis on an MS-associated MHC haplotype. After spending some time as a clinical researcher at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, UK, Dr Gregersen is now a lecturer at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.


Dr Michelle Krogsgaard, Ph.D. 1996-1999. Ph.D. Student

Dr Krogsgaard was introduced to immunology with emphasis on MS. She learned how to generate recombinant antibodies by using the phage display technology, which she used to detect specific MHC-peptide complexes in CNS tissue. Dr Krogsgaard is an assistant professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, USA. 

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