Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Campus: Camden

Research Groups: Antimicrobial Resistance, Host-Pathogen Interactions and Vaccinology

Rachel Lawrence is a Reader in ImmunoParasitology.  Her current research seeks to identify the immunological environment that influences pathogen clearance and regulates immunopathology in vertebrate hosts.

2016 - present  Reader, Royal Veterinary College, University of London.

2007 - 2016  Senior Lecturer, Royal Veterinary College, University of London.

2012 - 2013  Visiting Research Worker  in Dr Jean Langhorne’s laboratory (National Institute for Medical Research).

2003 - 2007 Lecturer, Royal Veterinary College, University of London.

1998 - 2003 Lecturer in Immunology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester.

1995 - 1999 MRC Career Development Award. “Identification of host immune mechanisms that control establishment of the filarial nematode, Brugia malayi, and modulation of these responses by the parasite”, Imperial College, London.

1990-1995 Postdoctoral fellow working on immune responses to the parasitic nematodes, Brugia malayi and Nippostrongylus  brasiliensis with Prof R.M. Maizels, Imperial College, London.

1987-1990 Postdoctoral fellow working on the influence of thymic epithelial cells on thymocyte development with Prof R.W. Dutton, University of California at San Diego, USA.

1987 PhD in Parasite Immunology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

1983 BSc (Hons) Biology, King’s College London.

Dr Lawrence is Co-Editor for Journal of Helminthology and is on the International Editorial Board of Parasite Immunology. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) and the Royal Society of Biology.

The broad scientific focus of the Lawrence lab is on the regulation of immune responses. We use both parasitic nematode and zebrafish models to understand the interplay between a pathogen and its ability to modulate the host immune environment. Research in the Lawrence lab falls into two key areas:

Modulation of protective immunity and immunopathology by nematode parasites including:

  i) the role of eosinophils as anti-parasite effector cells and/or mediators of pathology, and   ii) the ability of dendritic cells to modulate downstream immune responses following recognition of nematode antigens.

 iii) The influence of microbiotal composition upon immune responses and resistance to pathogens in a zebrafish model.

AHMED, R., CADMAN, E.T., SNAPPER, C.M. and LAWRENCE, R.A. (2018). Decreased nematode clearance and anti-phosphorylcholine specific IgM responses in mannose-binding lectin deficient mice. Immunology and Cell Biology, 96 (10), DOI:10.1111/imcb.12219

SCHROEDER, J-H., MCCARTHY, D., SZESTAK, T., COOK, D.A., TAYLOR M.J., CRAIG, A.G., LAWSON, C. and LAWRENCE, R.A. (2017). Brugia malayi microfilariae adhere to human vascular endothelial cells in a C3-dependent manner. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 11 (5): e0005592. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0005592

MATTHEWS, S.P., MCMILLAN, S.J., COLBERT, J.D., LAWRENCE, R.A. and WATTS, C. (2016). Cystatin F ensures eosinophil survival by regulating granule biogenesis. Immunity, 44, 1-12.

AW, D., HILLIARD, L., NISHIKAWA, Y., CADMAN, E.T., LAWRENCE, R.A. and PALMER, D.B. (2016). Disorganisation of the splenic microanatomy in ageing mice Immunology 148 (1), 92-101. doi:10.1111/imm.12590

CADMAN, E.T., THYSSE, K.A., BEARDER, S., CHEUNG, A.Y.N., JOHNSTON, A.C., LEE, J.J. and LAWRENCE, R.A. (2014). Eosinophils, are important for protection, immunoregulation and pathology during filarial nematode infection. PLoS Pathogens 10(3): e1003988. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003988.

SIMONS, J.P., LOEFFLER, J.M., AL-SHAWI, R., ELLMERICH, S., HUTCHINSON, W.L., TENNENT, G.A., PETRIE, A., RAYNES, J.G., DE SOUZA, B., LAWRENCE, R.A., READ, K.D., FERGUSON, M.A.J. and PEPYS, M.B. (2014). C-reactive protein is essential for innate resistance to pneumococcal infection. Immunology, 142(3):414-20. doi:10.1111/imm.12266.

SCHROEDER, J-H., SIMBI, B.H., FORD, L., COLE, S.R., TAYLOR M.J., LAWSON, C. and LAWRENCE, R.A. (2012). Live Brugia malayi microfilariae inhibit transendothelial migration of neutrophils and monocytes. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 6 (11): e1914. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001914.

BABAYAN, S.A., READ, A.F., LAWRENCE, R.A., BAIN, O., and ALLEN, J.E. (2010). Filarial parasites develop faster and reproduce earlier in response to host immune effectors which determine life expectancy. PLoS Biology, 8(10): e1000525. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000525.

SIMONS, J.E., GRAY, C.A. and LAWRENCE, R.A. (2010). Absence of regulatory IL-10 enhances innate protection against filarial parasites by a neutrophil-independent mechanism. Parasite Immunology, 32, 473-478. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3024.2010.01210.x

CADMAN, E.T. and LAWRENCE, R.A. (2010). Granulocytes: Effector cells or immunomodulators in the immune response to helminth infection? Parasite Immunology, 32,1-19. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3024.2009.01147.x

LAWRENCE, R. A., CARTER, T., BELL, L. V., ELSE, K.J., SUMMERFIELD, J. A., & BICKLE, Q. (2009) Altered antibody responses in mannose-binding lectin-A deficient mice do not affect Trichuris muris or Schistosoma mansoni infections. Parasite Immunology, 31, 104-109. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3024.2008.01071.x

LEWTHWAITE, J. C., CLARKIN, C. E., COATES, A. R., POOLE, S., LAWRENCE, R. A., WHEELER-JONES, C. P., PITSILLIDES, A. A., SINGH, M. & HENDERSON, B. (2007) Highly homologous Mycobacterium tuberculosis chaperonin 60 proteins with differential CD14 dependencies stimulate cytokine production by human monocytes through cooperative activation of p38 and ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinases. Int Immunopharmacol, 7, 230-240. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2006.10.005

CARTER, T., SUMIYA, M., REILLY, K., AHMED, R., SOBIESZCZUK, P., SUMMERFIELD, J. A. & LAWRENCE, R. A. (2007) Mannose-binding lectin A-deficient mice have abrogated antigen-specific IgM responses and increased susceptibility to a nematode infection. J Immunol 178, 5116-5123. PubMed ID 17404294

SIMONS, J. E., ROTHENBERG, M. E. & LAWRENCE, R. A. (2005) Eotaxin-1-regulated eosinophils have a critical role in innate immunity against experimental Brugia malayi infection. Eur J Immunol 35, 189-197. doi: 10.1002/eji.200425541

GILLAN, V., LAWRENCE, R. A. & DEVANEY, E. (2005) B cells play a regulatory role in mice infected with the L3 of Brugia pahangi. Int Immunol 17, 373-382. doi:10.1093/intimm/dxh217

GRAY, C. A. & LAWRENCE, R. A. (2002) Interferon-gamma and nitric oxide production are not required for the immune-mediated clearance of Brugia malayi microfilariae in mice. Parasite Immunol 24, 329-336. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3024.2002.00464.x

GRAY, C. A. & LAWRENCE, R. A. (2002) A role for antibody and Fc receptor in the clearance of Brugia malayi microfilariae. Eur J Immunol 32, 1114-1120. doi: 10.1002/1521-4141(200204)32:4<1114::AID-IMMU1114>3.0.CO;2-B

LAWRENCE, R. A. & DEVANEY, E. (2001) Lymphatic filariasis: parallels between the immunology of infection in humans and mice. Parasite Immunol 23, 353-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-3024.2001.00396.x

LAWRENCE, R. A. (2001) Immunity to filarial nematodes. Vet Parasitol 100, 33-44. PubMed ID 11522404

ZANG, X., ATMADJA, A. K., GRAY, P., ALLEN, J. E., GRAY, C. A., LAWRENCE, R. A., YAZDANBAKHSH, M. & MAIZELS, R. M. (2000) The serpin secreted by Brugia malayi microfilariae, Bm-SPN-2, elicits strong, but short-lived, immune responses in mice and humans. J Immunol 165, 5161-5169. PubMed ID 11046048

LAWRENCE, R. A., ALLEN, J. E. & GRAY, C. A. (2000) Requirements for in vivo IFN-gamma induction by live microfilariae of the parasitic nematode, Brugia malayi. Parasitology 120 ( Pt 6), 631-640. PubMed ID 10874726

MACDONALD, A. S., MAIZELS, R. M., LAWRENCE, R. A., DRANSFIELD, I. & ALLEN, J. E. (1998) Requirement for in vivo production of IL-4, but not IL-10, in the induction of proliferative suppression by filarial parasites. J Immunol 160, 4124-4132. PubMed ID 9558124

LAWRENCE, R. A., GRAY, C. A., OSBORNE, J. & MAIZELS, R. M. (1996) Nippostrongylus brasiliensis: cytokine responses and nematode expulsion in normal and IL-4-deficient mice. Exp Parasitol 84, 65-73. doi:10.1006/expr.1996.0090

LAWRENCE, R. A. (1996) Lymphatic filariasis: what mice can tell us. Parasitol Today 12, 267-271. doi:10.1016/0169-4758(96)10025-9

HOLMES, B. J., DIAZ-SANCHEZ, D., LAWRENCE, R. A., BELL, E. B., MAIZELS, R. M. & KEMENY, D. M. (1996) The contrasting effects of CD8+ T cells on primary, established and Nippostrongylus brasiliensis-induced IgE responses. Immunology 88, 252-260. PubMed ID 8690458

ALLEN, J. E., LAWRENCE, R. A. & MAIZELS, R. M. (1996) APC from mice harbouring the filarial nematode, Brugia malayi, prevent cellular proliferation but not cytokine production. Int Immunol 8, 143-151. doi: 10.1093/intimm/8.1.143

LAWRENCE, R. A., ALLEN, J. E., GREGORY, W. F., KOPF, M. & MAIZELS, R. M. (1995) Infection of IL-4-deficient mice with the parasitic nematode Brugia malayi demonstrates that host resistance is not dependent on a T helper 2-dominated immune response. J Immunol 154, 5995-6001. PubMed ID 7751642

ALLEN, J. E., LAWRENCE, R. A. & MAIZELS, R. M. (1995) Fine specificity of the genetically controlled immune response to native and recombinant gp15/400 (polyprotein allergen) of Brugia malayi. Infect Immun 63, 2892-2898. PubMed ID 7622210

LAWRENCE, R. A., ALLEN, J. E., OSBORNE, J. & MAIZELS, R. M. (1994) Adult and microfilarial stages of the filarial parasite Brugia malayi stimulate contrasting cytokine and Ig isotype responses in BALB/c mice. J Immunol 153, 1216-1224. PubMed ID 7913112

ALLEN, J. E., LAWRENCE, R. A. & MAIZELS, R. M. (1994) Antigen presentation and immune recognition of the gp15/400 glycoprotein of Brugia malayi. Parasite, 1, 46-47 Suppl. 1.

LAWRENCE, R. A. , ALLEN, J. E., OSBORNE, J. & MAIZELS, R. M. (1994) Adult and microfilarial stages of Brugia malayi stimulate different cytokine and immunoglobulin isotype responses in BALB/c mice. Parasite, 1, 44-45 Suppl. 1.

LAWRENCE, R. A. & DENHAM, D. A. (1993) Stage and isotype specific immune responses in a rat model of filariasis. Parasite Immunol 15, 429-439. PubMed ID 8233558

LAWRENCE, R. & DENHAM, D. A. (1992) Brugia pahangi infections in immune-compromised rats demonstrate that separate mechanisms control adult worm and microfilarial numbers. Parasite Immunol 14, 371-384. PubMed ID 1437230

MAIZELS, R. M. & LAWRENCE, R. A. (1991) Immunological tolerance: The key feature in human filariasis? Parasitol Today 7, 271-276. doi:10.1016/0169-4758(91)90093-4

LAWRENCE, R. & DENHAM, D. A. (1991) Brugia pahangi in rats: increasing the number of infective larvae inoculated increases the percentage of microfilaremic rats. J Parasitol 77, 173-175. PubMed ID 1992091

  • Module leader for 'Parasitology of Human and Veterinary Tropical Diseases', BSc BioVeterinary Sciences Yr 3 15 credit module.
  • Module leader for 'Comparative Models of Disease', BSc BioVeterinary Sciences Yr 3 15 credit module.
  • Lecturer, 2nd Year BSc Veterinary Sciences (The enemy without).
  • External Lecturer, MSc Parasitology and Entomology, LSHTM.
  • Tutor for BVetMed 1 and 2, BSc 1, 2 and 3.
  • Chair of BSc Veterinary Sciences sub-committee (2006 - 2012)
  • 2nd Year Leader BSc BioVeterinary Sciences (2009 - 2012)
  • 3rd Year Leader BSc BioVeterinary Sciences (2006 - 2009, 2014-present)


Co-Editor of the Journal of Helminthology (2016 - present)

Member of the International Editorial Board of Parasite Immunology (2004 - present). 
Co-organiser and Organiser of the 16th and 17th Woods Hole ImmunoParasitology (WHIP) meetings, USA (2012 and 2013).

Royal Society MP-Civil Servant Pairing Scheme participant (2009-2010)
Medical Research Council Advisory Board member (2002-5)
British Society for Parasitology (BSP), Council Member (2003-5)

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