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 an independent position in the Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James’s. 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. Our work is multidisciplinary and involves collaborations both within Leeds and with other national and international laboratories. Our work has been 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 has used 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 investigated the role of tyrosine phosphatase PTPN22 as a key negative regulator of T cell activation. Our ongoing research is focused on understanding the impact of deletion or inhibition of negative regulators of T cell activation, such as the PTPN22, on immune responses to cancer. To this end, we work in collaboration with colleagues both within Leeds (Dr Mihaela Lorger, Prof. Graham Cook, Dr. Alison Taylor, Dr. Adel Samson) and other Institutions (Professor Zamoyska).

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 how T cells integrate diverse signals (e.g. antigen / costimulatory / cytokine receptor) to control metabolic reprogramming. Furthermore we interested in determing the role of asparagine metabolism in T cell activation. We have determined that T cells coordinate expression of asparagine synthetase (Asns) with asparagine uptake during activation, and have undertaken 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 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 am currently an Academic Personal Tutor for Yr1/Yr2 MBChB students. I deliver lectures and tutorials to both undergraduate and post-graduate students within the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Our lab also provides opportunities for research projects to both PhD 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>