David Wraith

David Wraith

Company: University of Birmingham / Apitope

Job title: Institute Director and Professor of Immunology / Chief Scientific Officer


Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1956, David studied Biochemistry in Newcastle and London before taking a position in the Division of Immunology at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London. Working in the laboratory of Professor Ite Askonas, he helped discover that T lymphocytes respond to peptide fragments of antigens and designed a vaccine that would generate heterotypic immunity against influenza A viruses. In 1986, the MRC awarded David a travelling fellowship enabling him to join the laboratory of Professor Hugh McDevitt in Stanford University, USA. There he studied fundamental mechanisms of antigen recognition by CD4 T cells publishing papers on MHC binding, T cell receptor selection and the first use of peptide analogues to switch off the immune response to antigen. The Wellcome Trust awarded David a Senior Research Fellowship to establish his own laboratory at the University of Cambridge. His group revealed how autoreactive T cells escape deletion in the thymus and developed the use of peptides for immunotherapy of both allergic and autoimmune diseases. In 1995, David was appointed Head of the Department of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Bristol where he worked for 21 years. His group continued to define mechanisms of autoimmune disease but, most importantly, developed antigen-specific immunotherapy into a safe and effective means of controlling allergic and autoimmune diseases. In 2002, he established a spinout company, Apitope International, that has since completed phase 2 clinical trials of peptide immunotherapy in Multiple Sclerosis and phase 1 trials in Graves’ hyperthyroid disease. His group relocated to the University of Birmingham in 2016 to extend their peptide therapy work to rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and autoimmune liver diseases. In addition to running his laboratory, David is Director of the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.


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