Dr Clive McKimmie

Dr Clive McKimmie

Profile

Clive McKimmie is a University Academic Fellow who has recently established a new interdisciplinary team at the University of Leeds to study virus-host interactions. Dr Clive McKimmie obtained a 1st class degree at the University of Nottingham in Molecular Cell Biology (2000) and a Wellcome-Trust funded PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2005). During his PhD, he studied innate immune responses of the brain to virus infection.

Dr McKimmie then moved to the University of Glasgow, where he worked in the laboratory of Professor Gerry Graham. Here, Clive defined mechanisms by which chemokines control the positioning of leukocytes in inflamed tissues.  In 2012, he was awarded a university-funded fellowship and a MRC project grant, which he used to establish a team of investigators. In collaboration with key international researchers in virology and immunology, they discovered fundamental new insights into mosquito-borne virus infection, the first results of which are now published in the journal Immunity. Simultaneously, he has continued to pursue an interest in chemokine-driven inflammation by extending their work to study psoriasis, an important inflammatory skin condition.

In 2016, Dr McKimmie relocated to the University of Leeds to consolidate his independence as a principal investigator and because Leeds provides the ideal environment for combining expertise in bioinformatics, virology and translational medical research. Here, he activated a Wellcome Trust grant to generate new preliminary data and develop new research tools for studying viral dissemination in vivo. Dr McKimmie co-chaired the Gordon Research Seminar on chemotactic cytokines in Vermont (2014) and returned as an invited mentor for the 2016 seminar (Spain). In 2012, he co-founded a new British Society of Immunology affinity group, the Leukocyte Migration Group. We have now organised three Leukocyte Migration Group meetings; in 2013 (Glasgow) and in 2015 (Birmingham); and a third meeting in 2017 (Leeds). Dr McKimmie has a keen interest in public engagement, which includes interacting with a variety of media outlets who have since reported their work (e.g. Scientific American, Nature, Science, MailOnline, New York Observer, BBC, Time Magazine).

 

Research interests

We have a particular interest in host immune responses to viruses spread by mosquitoes. These viruses infect many millions of people each year and include viruses that cause Zika, dengue and chikungunya. Most such infections are usually found in the tropics, but a changing climate and globalisation mean their range has spread at an alarming rate. There are many different types of these viruses and it is hard to predict which virus will cause the next outbreak. Hence, it is challenging to develop and stockpile medicines for each type of infection. 

Innate immune responses by the host are crucial for effective anti-viral defences, yet the tissue-specific basis by which they are coordinated in vivo and their modulation by confounding environmental variables remains poorly defined. This particularly applies to infection by mosquito-borne viruses at the skin inoculation site. Inoculation of virus by mosquitoes as they bite the skin is an important stage of all such infections. We have recently identified key inflammatory pathways that are activated in the skin during biting, that are important determinants of the subsequent systemic course and clinical outcome of infection. 

By combining virology, bioinformatics, in vivo models and clinical expertise we are defining;

  • the coordination of skin innate immune responses to virus and how mosquito-derived factors influence them?
  • the relevance of skin-based events on the later systemic course of infection?
  • how key environmental variables modulate these responses?

Together we suggest that this work will characterise an important aspect of mosquito-borne virus infections that will enable the development of novel, broadly-applicable therapeutic and public health strategies for limiting disease severity. 

 

Qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) University of Nottingham, 1st class Molecular Cell Biology
  • PhD University of Edinburgh

Professional memberships

  • Higher Education Academy Fellowship
  • British Society of Immunology
  • Microbiology Society

Student education

Supervision topics; Inflammation, infection, skin biology, virus infection, chemokines.

I lecture in immunology and infectious diseases. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Infection and Immunity
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://medicinehealth.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>