Dr Robert Salmond

Dr Robert Salmond


I gained my undergraduate B.Sc. (Hons) in Medical Microbiology from the University of Edinburgh before moving to the University of Bristol to undertake a PhD in immunology. After my postgraduate studies I undertook postdoctoral positions at the Babraham Institute (Dr Denis Alexander), MRC NIMR / University of Edinburgh (Professor Rose Zamoyska) and University of Glasgow (Professor Eddy Liew), studying various aspect of cell signalling in lymphocytes.

I moved to Leeds in 2016 to take up a position as a University Academic Fellow in Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology. My group’s current research interests are focussed on interrogating the basic mechanisms of T cell activation, differentiation and effector function in order to gain an understanding of how these processes might be manipulated to improve anti-tumour immunity. In particular, we are interested in understanding how a negative regulator of T cell receptor (TCR) signalling, PTPN22, modulates T cell activation and metabolism in anti-tumour immune responses.

Our work is multidisciplinary and involves collaborations both within Leeds and with other national and international laboratories. We are currently funded by grants from the MRC and Cancer Research UK.

Research Interests

My research covers two main themes:

1. The basic signalling mechanisms underlying T cell development, activation and effector function

2. Developing approaches to enhance T cell responses in cancer

I have a long-standing interest in understanding the mechanisms of T cell receptor (TCR) signalling. For this purpose, the group uses knockout and transgenic mouse models to study the role of specific signalling molecules in T cells. In collaboration with Professor Rose Zamoyska (University of Edinburgh), we identified the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN22 as a key negative regulator of T cell activation. Our current research is focused on understanding the impact of deletion of negative regulators of T cell activation, such as the PTPN22, on immune responses to cancer. To this end, we are undertaking a CRUK-funded project in collaboration with colleagues both within Leeds (Dr Mihaela Lorger, Prof. Graham Cook) and other Institutions (Professor Zamoyska, Professor Dietmar Zehn).

I am also interested in understanding how T cells undergo rapid changes in their metabolism to fuel activation. Upon activation, T cells rapidly increase their ability to take up nutrients such as glucose, amino acids and free fatty acids from the extracellular environment. In particular, we are interested in the role of extracellular versus intracellular production of the amino acid asparagine in T cell activation. We have determined that T cells upregulate expression of asparagine synthetase (Asns) upon activation, and are undertaking an MRC-funded project to determine the role of Asns in T cell biology.

Research interests

We are interested in understanding the mechanisms that regulate T cell activation in disease (particularly cancer and autoimmunity) and health. This encompasses analysis of T cell receptor signalling pathways and cellular metabolism. We use a combination of in vivo transgenic and knockout mouse models and in vitro cellular and molecular immunology approaches.


  • BSc. (Hons) 1st class, Medical Microbiology, University of Edinburgh, 1998
  • PhD. Immunology, University of Bristol, 2002

Professional memberships

  • British Society for Immunology

Student education

I deliver lectures and tutorials to both undergraduate and post-graduate students with the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Our lab also provides opportunities for research projects to both BSc and MSc students.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's

Current postgraduate researchers

<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://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/214-immunotherapy:-manipulating-t-cell-metabolism-to-improve-anti-tumour-immunity">Immunotherapy: Manipulating T cell metabolism to improve anti-tumour immunity</a></li>