Prof. Donald J. Davidson, MBChB PhD FRSB
Chair of Host Defence & Inflammation Biology / Academic Lead for Public Engagement
Donald is a medical graduate of the University of Edinburgh who chose to pursue a scientific research career. He completed a PhD at the MRC Human Genetics Unit, studying the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis lung disease, then was awarded a Wellcome Trust Travelling Research Fellowship to undertake post-doctoral training in innate immunity research at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
After four years in Canada, he was recruited to the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh, where he has developed an independent research group, focused on host defence peptides and innate host defence mechanisms, funded initially as a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellow, and subsequently as an MRC Senior Non-clinical Fellow, before being awarded the personal Chair of Host Defence & Inflammation Biology.
Honours & Awards
- Principal’s Medal for Exceptional Contribution 2020
- Personal Chair of Host Defence & Inflammation Biology, 2019
- Elected as GRC Antimicrobial Peptides Conference Chair (2019) and Vice-Chair (2017)
- British Society for Immunology Public Engagement Secretary, 2018 – 2022
- Beltane Public Engagement Fellowship award, 2018
- Adjunct Associate Professor appointment, Murdoch University, WA, 2018
- Elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, 2015
- Distinguished Collaborator Award, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, 2012-2015
- MRC Senior Non-clinical Fellowship award, 2011 – 2016
- Miss A.M. Urquhart’s Charitable Trust, young scientist award, 2005
- Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship award, 2005
- B.C. Research Institute “Research team of Distinction” award, 2004
- Best poster presentation, Canadian Bacterial Diseases Network Meeting, 2003
- B.C. Research Institute Outstanding Achievement by a Postdoctoral Fellow award, 2002
- Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Fellowship award, 2002
- Wellcome Trust International Travelling Prize Fellowship award, 2000
Selected Recent Invited Presentations
- Gordon Research Conference on Antimicrobial Peptides, Italy (2023) “The Antiviral Significance of Cathelicidins in the lung”
- British Society for Immunology South Wales Immunology Group (2022) “Becoming an Engaged Researcher – the need for fewer hats”
- Scottish Immunology Groups Network Symposium, Perth (2022) “Communication, Engagement and Involvement in Immunology”
- British Society for Immunology International Congress, Edinburgh (2021) “Engaging with the public about COVID-19 vaccines” Panel Discussion Chair and Speaker
- UKRI Future Leader Fellow Annual meeting (2020) “Engaging with Purpose” panel speaker
- International Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Conference, Canada (2019) – “Regulating Host Defence Against Infection: the Cathelicidin Fire Alarm” Keynote
- University of the 3rd Age, Haddington, Scotland (2019) – “New approaches to infectious diseases in an era of antibiotic resistance”
- University of Nottingham, School of Life Sciences Invited Seminar (2019) – “Cathelicidin: an antimicrobial inflammomodulatory fire alarm in infectious lung disease”
- British Society for Immunology Winter School, Nottingham (2018) – “Understanding the Role and Therapeutic Potential of Host Defence Peptides against Respiratory Viruses
- ENGAGE Conference, Edinburgh (2018) – “Story of Change: Plenary Table Presentation”
- NECS Symposium 2018, Edinburgh (2018) – “Cathelicidin-mediated protection against Respiratory Syncytial Virus”
- European Respiratory Society International Congress (2018) – “Cationic host defence peptides as a novel treatment for respiratory viral infections”
- 8th International Meeting on Antimicrobial Peptides, Edinburgh, UK (2018) – “Cathelicidin as a modulator of inflammation in pregnancy and beyond”
- 7th International Meeting on Antimicrobial Peptides, Copenhagen, Denmark (2017) – “The preventative and therapeutic potential of cathelicidins in respiratory viral infections”
- International Symposium Centred on Understanding and Preventing Infection in Children, Vancouver, Canada (2017) – “Cathelicidins have direct antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus in vitro and protective function in vivo”
- Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine Conference, Nevada, USA (2017) – “Cathelicidins have direct antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus in vitro and protective function in vivo”
- Antimicrobial resistance research in Edinburgh Symposium, Edinburgh (2017) – “Antimicrobial Host Defence Peptides; potential in novel therapeutic interventions for AMR”
- Society for Leukocyte Biology 49th Annual Meeting, Verona, Italy (2016) – “Cathelicidins have direct antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus in vitro and protective function in vivo in mice and humans.”
- RegPep 2016 conference (2016), Rouen, France – Invited Session Chair & Speaker: “Antiviral function of host defence peptides against respiratory viruses.”
- ALTANT conference (2016), Utrecht, Netherlands. – Keynote speaker: “Cathelicidins in host defence against bacterial and viral lung infection.”
- Gordon Conference on Biology of Acute Respiratory Infection, Galveston, USA, (2016) – “Cathelicidins have direct antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus in vitro and protective function in vivo in mice and humans.”
- Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Virology seminar series (2016) – “Cathelicidins: modulators of host defence against viral & bacterial lung disease”
- Rottnest Research Meeting, Perth, Australia, Invited International Speaker (2015) “Cathelicidins: protective host defence peptides with key roles in pulmonary infections”
- Gordon Conference on Antimicrobial peptides, Italy, Invited talk & Session Chair (2015) – “Cathelicidins modulate innate and adaptive cellular responses at epithelial surfaces in the lung & gastrointestinal tract.”
- Glasgow Caledonian University, Dept. of Life Sciences Bioseminar series (2015) – ” Antimicrobial peptides: modulators of inflammation in the lung and the skin”
- Jonathan Gillan (2021 – 2022) Postdoc
- Molly Osborn (2021 – current) Public Engagement Manager
- Patrick Lennard (c) (2020 – current) PhD student
- Sofia Sintoris (2020 – 2022) MScR student
- Karishma Jayachandran (2020) MScR student
- Yee Hwee Ong (2019 – 2020) MScR student – Next: Teacher
- Alicia Ruiz Rodriguez (2019 – 2020) Postdoc – Next: Postdoc
- Jamil Jubrail (2019 – 2021) Postdoc – Next: Lecturer
- Lana Woolford (2019 – 2022) Public Engagement Officer
- Jenny Shelley (2018 – 2021) PhD student – Next: Postdoc
- Katie Smith (c) (2018 – 2022) PhD student – Next: Postdoc
- Katharin Balbirnie-Cumming (c) (2018 – 2022) PhD student
- Sam Walker (2017 – 2022) PhD student
- Jonathan Gillan (c) (2017 – 2021) PhD student – Next: Postdoc
- Danielle Minns (c) (2017 – 2020) PhD student – Next: Research Associate
- Amy Tyndall (2017 – 2019) Public Engagement Officer
- Sara van Boeckel (c) (2016 – 2020) PhD student – Next: GP training
- Holly Stevens (2015 – 2017) Research Assistant – Next: Research Assistant
- Rongling Wang (2015 – 2016) MScR student – Next: PhD student
- Lisa Young (2014 – 2015) Research Assistant – Next: Analyst
- Tina Baker (c) (2013 – 2017) PhD student – Next: Postdoc
- Pallavi Mandal (2013 – 2018) PhD student – Next: Clinician
- Jana Ovciarikova (2013 – 2013) MScR student – Next: Research Technician
- Olga Moncayo (2013) Clinical fellow – Next: Clinician / Honorary fellow
- Lauren Melrose (2013 – current) Research Assistant
- Bingjie Wang (2012 – 2017) MSc/PhD student – Next: Pharma
- Ross Mills (c) (2012 – 2013) MSc student – Next: PhD student
- Rebekah Morgan (2012 – 2013) MSc student – Next: PhD student
- Greg Armstrong (2012 – 2013) MSc student – Next: PhD student
- Kate Regan (c) (2012 – 2012) Honours student – Next: MBChB
- Emily Gwyer Findlay (2012 – 2017) Postdoc – Next: Royal Society Fellow
- Len Li (c) (2011 – 2011) MSc student – Next: PhD student
- Brian McHugh (2011 – 2017) Postdoc – Next: Postdoc
- Silke Logermann (2011 – 2015) MSc/PhD student – Next : Postdoc
- Simon Bate (2011 – 2012) MSc student – Next: HPA Aerobiologist
- Lorraine Frew (c) (2011 – 2014) PhD student – Next: Research Associate
- Ayub Qureshi (c) (2011 – 2016) MPhil student
- Annie Mackellar (2008 – 2011) Research Assistant – Next: Research Assistant
- Robert Gray (2008 – 2016) Intermediate Clinical Fellow – Next: Senior Fellow
- James Conlon (2008 – 2008) Summer student – Next: MBChB
- Paula Beaumont (2007 – 2014) PhD student – Next: Medical student
- Hsin-Ni Li (2006 – 2010) PhD student – Clinical Pathologist
- Peter Barlow (2005 – 2008) Postdoc – currently Professor (Napier University)
- Dawn Bowdish (c) (2000 – 2005) PhD student (Thesis Grade 1 distinction + Cangene Gold award for Canadian Microbiology Graduate of the Year 2005) – currently Professor (McMasters Uni)
- Karen Chu (c) (2000 – 2004) PhD student – Next: Postdoc
- Elaine Lau (c) (2001 – 2004) MSc student (Thesis top 10% grade) – Next: Research Assistant
- Paul Campsall (c) (2003 – 2003) Summer student – Next: Medical school
- Rebecca Ma (c) (2003 – 2004) Research Technician – Next: MSc student
- Agus Po (c) (2002 – 2002) Summer student – Next: Science graduate
- Kelly MacDonald (c) (2002 – 2003) Research Technician – Next: PhD student
- Susannah MacLean (c) (1998 – 1998) Summer student – Next: Clinical Fellow
(c = co-supervisor) Formal Mentoring (2013 – current): 9 Managing People – University of Edinburgh Transferable Skills Training course
- Programme Co-Director of Medical Sciences and Translational Research PhD with integrated studies in Engagement for Impact (2020 – current)
- University of Edinburgh MSc in Life Sciences – Lecturer, 2007 – current
- External Examiner; Imperial College Immunology MSc (2017 – 2021)
- PhD thesis examining: external (x6) & internal (x9) examiner, non-examining chair (x1)
- Edinburgh University Students Association Teaching Award Nominee 2012-2013 for the “Support Student learning” award
- University of Edinburgh MBChB – Student Selected Component 2a Tutor, 2006 – 2014
- University of Edinburgh MBChB – Course Organiser: Student Selected Component 2a, 2007 – 2013
- University of Edinburgh MSc in Life Sciences – Lecturer, 2007 – current
- PhD thesis examining: external (x6) & internal (x10) examiner, non-examining chair (x2)
- Advisory board member: Inflammation Research
- Manuscript and Grant reviewer; including Wellcome Trust, MRC, BBSRC, French National Research Agency, Medical Research Scotland, The Daphne Jackson Trust, British Skin Foundation, Action Medical Research, Nature Communications, Journal of Immunology, Mucosal Immunology, Journal of Leukocyte Biology, Innate Immunity, PLoSOne, Infection & Immunity, Immunology, Inflammation Research, Foundation for Polish Science.
Other Academic Roles
- Academic Lead for QMRI TestEd COVID19 testing project, 2021 – 2022
- Associate member of the CIR Postgraduate Studies Committee, 2021 – current
- Chair of the British Society for Immunology Inflammation affinity group, 2017 – 2019
- Chair of the CIR Blood Resource Management Committee, 2015 – 2021
- Member of Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, 2007 – current
- Member of the CIR Postgraduate Studies Committee, 2008 – 2021
- Chair of the SCS/SMGPHS Athena SWAN CEP Committee, 2016 – 2017
- Lead for Athena SWAN Promotions Subcommittee, 2015 – 2017
- Member of the Athena SWAN SCS & SMGPHS Steering Group 2016 – 2017
- Member of the Athena SWAN SCS & SMGPHS Self Assessment Board, 2014 – 2017
- Secretary for the BSI affinity group on Inflammation in Health and Disease, 2013 – 2017
- Member of the UoE Animal Welfare Committee, 2011 – 2016
- CIR Website development, 2011 – 2013
- Organiser of the Centre for Inflammation Research Seminar Series, 2009 – 2013
- Chair / Organiser of the QMRI Postgraduate Open Day Committee, 2007 – 2012
- Member of Queen’s Medical Research Institute GM Safety Committee, 2009 – 2016
- Member of Queen’s Medical Research Institute Postdoctoral Committee, 2007 – 2015
- Ordinary member of the Society for Leukocyte Biology & British Society for Immunology
- Elected Chair of 2019 GRC Antimicrobial Peptides Conference
- Scientific Organising Committee: “Inflammation: From Initiation to Restoration” Conference, Edinburgh 2019
- Elected Vice Chair of 2017 GRC Antimicrobial Peptides Conference
- Scientific Organising Committee: Inflammation and Disease Meeting, Manchester 2014
- Scottish MRC Centenary Community Event Committee member, 2013
- Scientific Organising Committee: European Macrophage and Dendritic Cell Society Annual Symposium 2010
- Organiser of the Centre for Inflammation Research Seminar Series, 2009 – 2013
- Queen’s Medical Research Institute Postgraduate Open Day Co-ordinator, 2007 – 2012
- Founding member, and Principal organiser of “Inflammation in Bacterial and Viral infections” meetings series & Annual Symposia, 2007 – 2010
- Founding member, Trainee Choice Distinguished Lectures in Medicine Series, 2003 – 2004
- Initiation and organisation of BCRI Institute CPIC Trainee seminars, 2001 – 2004
Public Engagement / Science Communication
- Public Engagement Secretary for British Society for Immunology, 2018 – 2022
- Chair of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Public Engagement with Research Advisory Group, 2021 – current
- Academic Lead for Public Engagement & Communications at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, 2015 – current
- Chair of CIR Public Engagement & Communications Committee, 2013 – current
- Beltane Public Engagement Fellow 2018
- National MRC Open Communications Forum member & invited presenter, 2015 – current
- Scottish Public Engagement Network member, 2017 – current
- STEM NET ambassador, 2015 – current
- Conceived and developed “Operation Colodenum” – a digital gameified learning resource on microbiology and immunology
- Conceived and developed “Supercytes” game, animations and teachers resource, and teacher training workshops, 2015 – current
- British Society for Immunology International Congress Public Engagement sessions, showcases and posters (2019, 2021, 2022)
- British Society for Immunology South Wales Immunology Group (2022) seminar: “Becoming an Engaged Researcher – the need for fewer hats”
- Scottish Immunology Groups Network Symposium, Perth (2022) Presentation: “Communication, Engagement and Involvement in Immunology”
- Edinburgh Science Festival Walking Tour co-developer, 2021
- Co-Development of “Immune memory and the Coronavirus” animation series, 2020 – 2021
- Easter Bush Outreach Centre volunteer, 2020
- Midlothian Science Festival contributor, 2019 – current
- UKRI Future Leader Fellow Annual meeting (2020) “Engaging with Purpose” panel speaker
- National Museum of Scotland “Parasites: Battle for Survival” exhibition Supercytes workshop, 2020
- Centre Lead for MRC Festival of Medical Research, 2016 – 2019
- Development/delivery of “Amazing Immunology” activities and workshops for the Edinburgh International Science Festival, 2014- current
- Science Insights (2016 – current)
- University of the 3rd Age Invited Public Lecture (May 2019): “New approaches to infectious diseases in an era of antibiotic resistance”
- Association for Science Education Scotland Conference (March 2019): “Supercytes” workshop for Science Educators
- ENGAGE Conference, Edinburgh (Dec 2018) – “Story of Change: Plenary Table Presentation”
- ENGAGE Conference, Edinburgh (Dec 2018) – “Supercytes” Encounters exhibition
- Institute of Ideas “Debating Matters” – Qualifying rounds & Regional Finals judge (2012 – 2015)
- STEM Amdassador (2015 – current)
- Primary School Outreach events: Science week (2012-15, 2017-2019)
- ISSF2 project “IMPs for Inflammation” awarded funding, with “Supercytes; the immune cell standoff” and “Anatomy Squared: Lungcraft”.
- British Society for Immunology “Going Viral” SciArt initiative (see News section), 2012
- Secondary School work experience visitors x 3, 2011- current
- Illustration and Development of MicroMania (see News section), 2010 – 2011
- Invited speaker at the Wellcome Trust PhD students Career Day, 2007-2010
- Royal Society MP-Scientist Pairing scheme participant, 2006 – 2007
- SciArt and Scientific cartooning, including publications in Bioessays, Science, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, TiG, TiBS, Cold Spring Harbor Human Genome Mapping and Sequencing conferences, EUSci, MRC News, US Adult CF Association Roundtable.
Find out more about the members of the lab team
Research Technician Email: Lauren.McKendrick@ed.ac.uk Lauren works as a Research Assistant for the Centre for Inflammation Research, including part-time support for the Davidson lab. She has a degree in Microbiology and Biotechnology from Edinburgh Napier University. She has experience of many laboratory techniques including genotyping, histology and tissue culture.
PhD Student Supervisors: (Edinburgh) Prof Julia Dorin, Dr Jenny Regan, Prof Will Wood, Prof Donald J. Davidson, (Leiden) Prof Pieter Hiemtra. Email: P.R.Lennard@sms.ed.ac.uk Project start date : Sept 2020 Patrick graduated with a BBiotechMedRes (Hons) from the University of Tasmania in 2017. He continued his Honours work with the Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease research group, investigating devil immune receptor interactions, before commencing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree in Infectious Diseases and One Health. After studying between the Universitéde Tours (France), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) and the University of Edinburgh, he continued his research at The Roslin Institute, investigating the immunomodulatory potential of porcine mesenchymal stem cells. He graduated in 2020 and is now undertaking a 4-year PhD in Integrated One Health Solutions, working between the University of Edinburgh and Leiden University (Netherlands). He will investigate the capacity of novel host defence peptide variants to combat antimicrobial resistance in respiratory infections.
Associated Lab Members
Find out more about the associated members of the lab team
Reader & Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician Email: R.D.Gray@ed.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0)131 242 6658 Having established his research group as a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow, leading an independent programme of work within the Davidson Group, the award of a prestigious NRS/Universities Scottish Senior Clinical Fellowship in late 2016 enabled Robert to expand his research group at the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research. His team study the role of calprotectin in inflammatory lung disease, with particular emphasis on cystic fibrosis and neutrophil NETosis, and continue to work in close collaboration with Donald Davidson. He is also an Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician (NHS Lothian), with a specialist interest in cystic fibrosis lung disease, and a keen and talented bagpipe player. Key collaborators: Prof. Chris Haslett, Prof. Adriano Rossi, Dr Paul McCray Jr, Dr Thomas Vogl, The Scottish Adult CF Unit.
Find out more about our alumni
Alicia Ruiz Rodriguez
Postdoctoral Researcher Dates: October 2019 – Sept 2020 Alicia graduated from the University of Granada in 2011 with an MSc in Microbiology, after completing her BSc in Pharmacy. She then undertook a Ph.D where she examined the functional and structural changes in the gut microbiota of obese adolescents under a dietary intervention. She then spent two years as a Post-Doctoral researcher funded by the Ramon Areces Foundation at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Prof. Debby Bogaert. During this position, she investigated the maturation of the infant respiratory mycobiota, its environmental drivers, and health consequences. She subsequently undertook a postdoctoral role, funded by the Chief Scientist Office, in the Davidson laboratory initiating study of the relationship between the cathelicidin expression, the microbiome, RSV susceptibility and the severity of RSV disease.
Research Assistant Annie worked as a Research Assistant from 2008 – 2015, initially directly for Donald, and then with Dr Robert Gray, before retiring. Her extensive experience in biomedical research made her the lab guru in all manner of different techniques. Annie was also responsible for the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research Pathogenic Virus tissue culture facility.
MPhil Student Primary Supervisors: Dr Donald J. Davidson & Dr Richard Weller Additional Supervisors: Dr Brian McHugh Start Date: Sept 2009 Ayub is a Dermatologist trained in Medicine at Quaid-E-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur, Pakistan. Following research experience in Kiev University, Ukraine and Wake Forest University, North Carolina, USA, Ayub came to the University of Edinburgh. Ayub joined the Davidson lab for the later part of his degree studies and, some time afterwards, in 2016, he was awarded an MPhil, for research examining the roles of Staphylococcus aureus and cationic host defence peptides in atopic dermatitis.
MSc student Benjamin originally studied Biological Science at the University of East Anglia. After his undergraduate degree he then studied at King’s College London, completing a Masters in Immunology, focusing on the prospective isolation of progenitors for inflammatory dendritic cells. Benjamin completed an MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh, during which time he worked on Donald Davidson’s ISSF2-funded “IMPs for Inflammation” project, helping to develop elements of the “Supercells: the inflammatory cell showdown” educational card game as part of his dissertation research project.
PhD Student Supervisors: Dr Donald J. Davidson, Dr Brian McHugh, Dr Richard Weller 2013 – 2017
Bingjie is a medical graduate from Peking University, who undertook a 1+3 year PhD at the University of Edinburgh and funded by a China Scholarship Council/University of Edinburgh Award. Having completed her first year MSc by Research Project, she then undertook her PhD in the Davidson lab, studying host defence peptides in atopic dermatitis. Bingjie successfully defended her thesis and graduated in 2017
Senior Postdoctoral Researcher Brian is a senior researcher with specialist expertise in molecular biology, tissue culture and imaging. His research in the Davidson lab was focused on the immunomodulatory role of cathelicidins in the lung, with particular reference to cell death in infected cells, and the role of defensins in atopic dermatitis. Brian completed his undergraduate degree in Genetics in 1996 at Trinity College Dublin, following this with a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh in 2001. After which he undertook postdoctoral work in the areas of cell division, cell migration, and tumour growth and metastasis in lung cancer. He was awarded a Junior Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation in 2005 and a Norman Salvesen Emphysema Research Trust Fellowship in 2008, and has been co-applicant on successful project grant applications from the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and the Chief Scientist Office in the Scottish Executive. He worked in the Davidson lab from 2011 -2017, and remains a close collaborator.
PhD Student Supervisors: Dr Emily Gwyer Findlay, Prof Donald J. Davidson May 2017 – June 2020 Danielle graduated from Royal Holloway College with a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences. She then went on to complete an MRes in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at Imperial College London, with a particular interest in immunoregulation. After having spent a few years working as a Research Assistant on a number of different projects, Danielle then completed her PhD, working on innate modifiers of T cell behaviour during inflammatory disease.
Emily Gwyer Findlay
Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow Emily is a Fellow with particular interests in immunology and in vivo models of infection. Emily has a combined BSc and Mres in biochemistry from Imperial College London and the University of Barcelona, completed in 2004. She then did a PhD at Imperial under Professor Tracy Hussell, focusing on T cell activation and development in a range of inflammatory diseases. Following this, Emily moved to the LSHTM to carry on T cell work in the malaria model, with Kevin Couper and Eleanor Riley. From 2012 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Davidson Lab at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh, investigating the role of cathelicidins in defence against infectious lung disease and the modulation of adaptive immune responses. In 2017 she established her own research group, with the award of a prestigious Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship, for her project entitled “Cathelicidin is critical for pathogenic T cell development in multiple sclerosis”, working in close collaboration with Donald Davidson.
MSc Student Primary Supervisor: Dr Donald J. Davidson Start Date: Jan 2012 End date: April 2012 Greg is a MRC/University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research 4-year PhD student. He conducted his 2nd mini-project in the Davidson lab, focused on the inflammomodulatory potential of CHDP on macrophages.
PhD Student 2006 – 2010 Primary Supervisor: Dr Donald J. Davidson Additional Supervisors: Prof. Adriano Rossi, Dr Peter Barlow Hsin-Ni is a clinician scientist with an undergraduate degree in Medicine from the National Taiwan University. She completed a PhD at the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, with her research focused on the capacity of antimicrobial peptides to induce secondary necrosis in neutrophils and the inflammatory consequences of this process. Her industrious approach was a great bonus in starting up the lab group and we gradually turned her a little bit Scottish, even if she never came to enjoy the lab meeting biscuit and cake-fest! Hsin-Ni is now in specialist training as a Clinical Pathologist in Taiwan.
Research Assistant After graduating with a BSc (Hons) degree in Biology from the University of Bath, Holly went on to complete an MRes at the University of Glasgow in Biomedical Sciences (Integrative Mammalian Biology) funded by the MRC. She has worked as a technician within the Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow, before joining the Davidson lab as a Research Assistant from 2015 – 2017.
Postdoctoral Researcher Jamil graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2010 with a Master’s in Biochemistry and Microbiology where he became interested in the innate immune response to microbes. He then moved to The Medical School at the University of Sheffield to undertake a Ph.D where he examined the macrophage response to Staphylococcus aureus under the supervision of Professor David Dockrell. He then undertook Post-Doctoral training at the Cochin Institute in Paris under the supervision of Dr. Florence Niedergang and identified key mechanisms used by human rhinovirus to perturb the host innate immune response. He undertook a second postdoctoral position, funded by Action Medical Research, in the Davidson laboratory from 2019 – 2021, to evaluate the therapeutic potential of antimicrobial peptides in Respiratory Syncytial Virus infections, before starting his own research group in Solent Universalist, Southampton.
MSc Student Primary Supervisor: Dr Donald J. Davidson Co-supervisors: Dr Emily Gwyer Findlay Dates: April – August 2013
Jana graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Immunology. During her undergraduate studies she became very interested in the various processes involved in inflammation, especially in the role of immune system. Jana studied for a Masters degree at the University of Edinburgh, conducting her second maxi-project in the Davidson lab on the role of LL-37 in the modulation of dendritic cell differentiation and function.
PhD Student Supervisors: Prof Donald J. Davidson, Dr David Clarke, Dr Richard Weller, Dr Brian McHugh
PhD Dates: September 2018 – December 2021
Jenny graduated from Imperial College London with an MSc (Hons) in Immunology in 2017, after completing her BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Sheffield. Before starting her PhD, she spent a year working as a research technician/lab manager studying influenza virus at Imperial. She has also carried out short studentships at the Babraham Research Institute and Cambridge CRUK institute. She undertook a British Skin Foundation-funded PhD in the Davidson lab at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, studying antimicrobial host defence peptides in atopic dermatitis, before moving to the Blizard Institute, London for her first postdoctoral position.
PhD Student & Postdoc Supervisors: Dr Robert Gray, Prof Donald J. Davidson Dates: September 2017 – Sept 2022 Jonny graduated in summer 2017 with a BSc (hons) in Immunology from the University of Glasgow where he developed a particular interest in the immunological and metabolic drivers of inflammatory diseases. He then undertook a PhD studying the role of calprotectin in cystic fibrosis lung inflammation under the supervision of Dr Robert Gray and Prof Donald Davidson, before moving to a postdoctoral research position, studying cathelcidins in RSV infection in the Davidson group.
MScR Student Supervisors: Prof Donald J. Davidson, Dr Jamil Jubrail Project dates : March – Sept 2020 Karishma studied an MRes in Biomedical Sciences student at University of Edinburgh. She had completed three year BSc in Biochemistry and Industrial Microbiology and two year Masters in Microbiology. She conducted her 2nd mini-project in the Davidson lab, focused on the Antiviral potential of antimicrobial host defence peptides.
PhD Student Supervisors: Dr Emily Gwyer Findlay, Prof Donald J. Davidson, Dr Veronique Miron Sept 2018 – Aug 2022 Katie graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences in 2017. She then continued her studies at Newcastle University and completed an MRes in Immunobiology with particular interest in immune cell interactions. She undertook a PhD at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, studying how innate and adaptive immune cells interact in multiple sclerosis, and the role of cathelicidins.
Undergraduate medical student Supervisors: Dr Robert Gray & Dr Donald J. Davidson Start Date: Jan 2012 Kate first came to the lab as undergraduate student studying Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, to conduct the Honours project of her intercalated BSc with Dr Robert Gray. Her project, studying cell death in cystic fibrosis neutrophils, was awarded the Photometrics UK prize for the best Honours project in her Molecular Genetics Honours year group. Kate then returned to continue the work on a Summer Studentship in summer 2012 and kept involved in various capacities over then next few years.
PhD Student Supervisors: Prof David Dockrell, Prof Donald J. Davidson Sept 2018-Aug 2022 Katharin graduated from the University of Dundee with a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology in 2016, where she developed a particular interest in disease processes, immunology and medical-related microbiology. She worked as a Research Technician in the Virology department at the University of St Andrews for two years studying honeybee viruses. She undertook a PhD in the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, focusing on human immunology and disease responses, studying mitochondrial fission and macrophage microbicidal responses (including antimicrobial host defence peptides) during pneumococcal and staphylococcal infection.
Research Assistant Lisa worked in the Davidson Lab from 2014 – 2015, working as a Research Assistant, primarily with Brian McHugh and Emily Gwyer Findlay. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Strathclyde in 2013, achieving an upper second class BSc Honours in Biochemistry and Immunology. Following this, Lisa studied at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2014 with an MRes with Distinction in Biomedical Sciences (Integrative Mammalian Biology). She has both practical and theoretical knowledge of many laboratory techniques including flow cytometry, genotyping and tissue culture.
PhD Graduate PhD Project: The production and function of cervical antimicrobial peptides in pregnancy Timescale: October 2010 – Jan 2014 Supervisors: Dr Sarah Stock, Professor Jane Norman and Dr Donald Davidson Funding: Academy of Medical Sciences/Wellcome Trust, Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory Following an undergraduate degree and MSc by research in Reproductive Biology at the University of Edinburgh, Lorraine studied for a PhD in the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, in collaboration with the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh. Lorraine researched the production and function of cervical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in pregnancy, with a particular interest in their significance in preterm labour. Preterm labour is a common pregnancy problem, which is associated with increased death and disability in babies and mothers. We believe that AMPs may be important in the pathophysiology of preterm membrane rupture and spontaneous preterm labour and that they make attractive targets for treatments to prevent preterm birth. Lorraine graduated with her PhD in 2014, before working as a Research Laboratory Associate at the Centre for Human Reproductive Science, Birmingham
Olga L. Moncayo
Clinical Lecturer Olga is a Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Specialist Registrar in Medical Microbiology. She has special interests in the dynamics of bacterial colonisation in humans and in the recognition of the early processes that precede the development of invasive infection, particularly in relation to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and hospital acquired pneumonia. Olga spent six months undertaking an Out of Programme Research experience with the Davidson group.
PhD student / Clinical Fellow Supervisors: Prof Adam Hill, Prof Adriano Rossi & Dr Donald Davidson Dates: Sept 2013 – Feb 2018 Funding: Chief Scientist Office Pallavi’s area of interest is translational research in bronchiectasis, a condition characterized by excessive neutrophilic airways inflammation. Following training for two years as a Specialty Registrar in Respiratory Medicine, Pallavi received two years funding from the CSO to conduct a double blinded RCT with high dose statins in non cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. She then undertook a PhD with funding from the CSO to research the role of Lipoxin A4 in bronchiectasis, with particular reference to failure in resolution of inflammation, and studying neutrophils from a bronchiectatic patient cohort with a view to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
PhD Student Primary Supervisor: Dr Donald J. Davidson Additional Supervisors: Prof. John R. W. Govan Dates: Sept 2007 – Oct 2014
Following a Medical Microbiology Honours degree and Masters by Research at the University of Edinburgh, Paula studied for a PhD in the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research. Paula researched the host defence activities of cathelicidins in bacterial pulmonary infection, with particular reference to peptide expression in disease, peptide-induced cell death, and immunomodulatory anti-pseudomonal properties. Paula left to take up an undergraduate degree in Medicine, but later wrote up her PhD thesis – completed in 2014.
Postdoctoral Researcher 2005- 2009 Peter was the first member of the Davidson Lab. Following a BSc and PhD at Edinburgh Napier University, Peter worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, studying the capacity of cathelicidins in induce cell death in infected airway epithelial cells. His steadying influence and reliable approach were indispensible and his work set the basis for much of what has followed. Peter then moved to the United States, where he worked within the Influenza Division of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, before setting up his own lab at Edinburgh Napier University.
MSc Student Primary Supervisor: Dr Donald J. Davidson Co-supervisors: Dr Brian McHugh Dates: Oct 2012 – March 2013
Rebekah is a graduate in Molecular Biology from University of Aberdeen. During her studies there she had the opportunity to work in industry for a year with ImmunoSolv which led to being awarded an undergraduate masters, M.Sci. Rebekah then joined the 1+3 year PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh, funded by Medical Research Council. She worked in the Davidson lab for her first maxi-project, characterising CHDP-induced cell death.
NRS/Universities Scottish Senior Clinical Fellow & Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician Having established his research group as a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow, leading an independent programme of work within the Davidson Group, the award of a prestigious NRS/Universities Scottish Senior Clinical Fellowship in late 2016 enabled Robert to expand his research group at the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research. His team study the role of calprotectin in inflammatory lung disease, with particular emphasis on cystic fibrosis and neutrophil NETosis, and continue to work in close collaboration with Donald Davidson. He is also an Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician (NHS Lothian), with a specialist interest in cystic fibrosis lung disease, and a keen and talented bagpipe player. Key collaborators: Prof. Chris Haslett, Prof. Adriano Rossi, Dr Paul McCray Jr, Dr Thomas Vogl, The Scottish Adult CF Unit.
MSc Biomedical Sciences student Primary Supervisor: Dr Donald J. Davidson Co-supervisor: Dr Brian McHugh. Rongling is a graduate of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, with an undergraduate major in Pharmaceutical Engineering. She joined the Davidson lab to conduct a maxi-project with Dr Brian McHugh as a component of her MSc by Research in Biomedical sciences at the University of Edinburgh from Oct 2015 – March 2016.
MSc Student Primary Supervisor: Dr Robert Gray Co-supervisors: Dr Donald J. Davidson Dates: Oct 2012 – March 2013 Ross is a graduate of Newcastle University, where he studied Medical Microbiology and Immunology, before becoming a University of Edinburgh / MRC Centre for Inflammation Research 1+3 year PhD student. He conducted his first MSc Maxi project with Dr Robert Gray, studying neutrophil cell death.
PhD Student Supervisors: Prof Karen Faulds, Prof Donald J. Davidson, Prof Duncan Graham Sept 2017-2022 Sam graduated from The University of Edinburgh with a BSc (Hons) in Biological sciences (Biochemistry). She completed her third year at The University of Sydney, Australia, which initiated her interest in protein/peptide and spectroscopic techniques. She then undertook a PhD within the OPTIMA CDT using Raman spectroscopy to investigate biofilms and antimicrobial peptide-conjugated nanoparticles.
Sara van Boeckel
PhD Student / Clinical Fellow Supervisors: Dr Sarah Stock, Prof Donald Davidson, Prof Jane Norman Sept 2016 – June 2020 Sara is a medical graduate from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In her 6th year of medicine she worked on a 6 month master research on fetal inflammation in the context of preterm labour at the University of Edinburgh. After completing her degree and a year of clinical work in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department of the Hospital in Enschede, the Netherlands, she returned to the University of Edinburgh to undertake a PhD on a Clinical Research Fellowship to investigate the influence and possible therapeutic interventions of circulating cell-free fetal DNA on preterm labour.
Administrative Secretary Sheila retired in 2022 after seven years of brilliant administrative support to Donald and others – many thanks!
PhD Student Start Date: Oct 2011 Primary Supervisor: Dr Donald J. Davidson Additional Supervisors: Prof. Jürgen Schwarze, Dr Emily Gwyer Findlay & Dr Paul Fitch Following an undergraduate degree in Bioscience at the Westphalian Wilhelms University Muenster, and Masters Degrees at both the University of Edinburgh (Biomedical Sciences) and the Westphalian Wilhelms University Muenster (Bioscience), Silke studied for a PhD in the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, researching the anti-viral activity of cathelicidins against Respiratory Syncytial Virus. She was also Editor in chief of the University of Edinburgh science magazine EuSci. Following her PhD Silke accepted a postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster.
MScR student Supervisors: Prof Donald J. Davidson, Prof Debby Bogaert, Prof Marc Vendrell Sept 2020 – August 2022 Sofia graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Immunology from the University of Glasgow in 2020. During her undergraduate degree, Sofia undertook two summer placements where she developed an interest in generating targeted therapeutics to prevent aberrant inflammation and respiratory infection. After joining the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, she studied inducers and modulators of antimicrobial host defence peptides in the lung during RSV infection in the Davidson lab, graduating with Distinction in a MScR from the Integrated Studies in Medical Sciences with Engagement Programme.
Yee Hwee Ong
MSc by Research Student Supervisors: Dr Jamil Jubrail, Prof Donald J. Davidson Yee Hwee graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences in 2019. During her undergraduate studies, she undertook a neuroscience research project and was awarded the NTU President Research Scholar: URECA Undergraduate Research Programme with Distinction (2017). She also completed her Final Year Project in the field of skin biology at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Skin Research Institute of Singapore. From Oct 2019 – March 2020, she joined the Davidson Lab as a student of the MSc by Research in Biomedical Sciences (Life Sciences) programme at the University of Edinburgh to examine the potential of host defence peptides as antivirals against Respiratory Syncytial Virus. She made this excellent wee film about her project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFkCYWib_bY&feature=youtu.be
Find out more about our collaborators
Andrew is a BrightSpark Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Immunology at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. Andrew’s Lab Collaboration on HDP expression and function in neonates.
Dave is a Chancellor’s Fellow working in Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry at the University of Edinburgh. Dave’s lab Collaboration on the chemistry and MS quantification of HDP
Dawn is an Associate Professor at McMaster University, Canada. Dawn Bowdish’s lab Collaboration on CHDP and the microbiome, and aging of the innate immune system.
Debby is a Scottish Senior Clinical Fellow and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at The University of Edinburgh. Debby’s lab Collaboration on CHDP and repiratory microbiome, in susceptibility to infection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
Emily Gwyer Findlay
Emily is an Associate Professor in Biomedical Sciences with particular interests in the interface between neutrophils, cathelicidins and the adaptive immune system. After working as a Postdoc with Donald, she set up her own group within the University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research, before moving to Southampton University in 2022. Emily’s lab Long standing collaborations of all things cathelicidin.
Guðmundur H. Guðmundsson
Guðmundur is a Professor at the University of Iceland, with long standing expertise in Host Defence Peptides, particularly cathelicidins. Guðmundur’s lab Collaboration on approaches to cathelicidin induction.
Julia is a principal investigator at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, Edinburgh, and was one of Donald’s PhD supervisors. Julia Dorin’s lab Collaboration on the role of CHDP in innate immune signalling.
Jürgen holds the Edward Clark Chair of Child Life and Health at the University of Edinburgh, and is based at the MRC / University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research. Jürgen’s Lab Collaboration on HDP as antiviral agents in Respiratory Syncytial Virus infections.
Marc is a Chemist working in Biology and Optical Imaging at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh. His lab studies dynamic activatable fluorophores for real-time imaging of key molecular events in cancer and inflammation. Marc’s Lab Collaboration on synthesis of HDP derivative and novel peptide mimics.
Marlies Van Houten
Marlies Van Houten is a Clinician Scientist with expertise in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, based at Spaarne Gasthuis, Netherlands. Marlies Van Houten Collaboration on nasal HDP and microbiome in susceptibility to infection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
Richard is a Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at the University of Edinburgh. Collaboration on the role of HDP in atopic dermatological pathology.
Sarah is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Maternal and Fetal Health, at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh. Sarah’s Lab Collaboration on the role of HDP in the female reproductive tract and roles in premature labour.
Steve is Professor of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Steve Cunningham Collaboration on HDP in susceptibility to Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
Trevor is a Reader in Respiratory Clinical Pharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Medical Director of the Imperial Clinical Respiratory Research Unit (ICRRU) at St Mary’s Hospital, and an Honorary Consultant Immunologist at St. Mary’s Hospital in London. Trevor has a specialist interest in phase II clinical testing of new anti-inflammatory therapies for asthma and COPD, and particular expertise working on novel non-invasive methods to sample the airways: using synthetic absorptive matrices to measure cytokines and chemokines in nasal and bronchial mucosal lining fluid. Trevor’s lab Collaboration on non-invasive sampling of airway lining fluid.