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Kimberley Wiggins

Kimberley Wiggins

BHF 4-Year Programme PhD Student

Research Interests

Supervisor:  Dr Murray Clarke

Title: The proteolytic activation of interleukin-1 alpha and the effect of common single nucleotide polymorphisms on cytokine activity

Abstract: We are interested in how necrosis drives sterile inflammation and its implication in atherosclerosis and other vascular pathologies. A key driver of sterile inflammation is the cytokine interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1α). Although full-length IL-1α is reported to be fully active, our previous work shows that activity is significantly increased following cleavage by the protease calpain.

This project will characterise how proteolysis activates IL-1α and what enzymes can do this. In addition, the functional consequences of IL-1α single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are common within the population will be determined.

Expanding our knowledge of the regulation of IL-1α activity and elucidating the functional effects of IL-1α SNPs will increase our understanding of atherogenesis and other inflammatory diseases and therefore enable the development of novel therapeutic approaches.


  • Gordon Atherosclerosis Conference in USA, June 2015


  • Charles Slater Award travel grant to the above conference, June 2015

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