Professor Clare Bryant
Professor of Innate Immunity
I was awarded a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the inflammatory proteins inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase 2 with Professor Sir John Vane in London. After this I was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship and a Wellcome Trust Advanced Fellowship to workon how corticosteroids modulate lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced inflammation. During my RCDF, I gained a Certificate in Anaesthesia and a European Diploma in Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. Towards the end of my RCDF, the LPS receptor, Toll-like receptor 4, was discovered and I have returned to my favorite area of research receptor pharmacology although as I now work on receptors that recognize pathogens (Pattern Recognition Receptors (PRRs).
I am now considered an innate immunologist. I was appointed to a University position and am still working on PRRs from a number of aspects including how PRRs influence the host innate and adaptive immune response to infection, how this differs between differentanimal species and the role PRRs may play in chronicinflammatory diseases such as the allergic response to cat and other allergens. I have developed an extensive network of collaborators (including structural biologists, microbiologists, chemists, mathematicians and physicists) which has radically changed my workand resulted in collaborative program funding from the MRC and Wellcome Trust as well as primary grant funding from the BBSRC.
I have spent really interesting sabbaticals in Ireland and the USA which have transformed my research and my understanding of how the research world works, as well as allowing me to make friends all around the world. Three years ago I was awarded a BBSRC Fellowship to focus on my collaborative work with my physical science colleagues and this has resulted in the application of new imaging techniques and cell mechanics studies which have taken my research to a new level. Promotion to Professor in Cambridge principally relies upon research success (both in publications and in attracting research funding) together with an internationally recognized profile (my workis recognised internationally in two fields: veterinary pharmacology, and PRR research).
If I were to start again, I would not change fields as many times as I have, particularly between PhD and postdoctoral fellowships, because it has slowed down my ability to achieve an international reputation, but on the other hand I have learnt a huge amount along the way!