Our people

Dr Francesco Vacca

Dr Vacca received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, working under the supervision of Dr. Henry McSorley. The main aim of his PhD was investigating the immunomodulatory effects of the secretory products released by the parasitic worm Heligmosomoides polygyrus. His team identified 2 proteins that interfere with the initiation of type 2 immune responses and used them to modulate asthmatic immune response in vivo.

Dr Vacca is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Allergic and Parasitic Disease Programme, led by Professor Graham Le Gros.


Research interests

Several epidemiological studies showed a negative correlation between helminth infections and incidence of allergic and inflammatory diseases. Helminths have evolved to survive in the host, evading the host immune system. One of these strategies is producing and secreting molecules that can have a broad effect in the immune system. I am interested in identifying these molecules and possibly use them as treatment for allergic disease or other inflammatory diseases. During the PhD my attention was on the role of the IL-33 pathway and asthmatic type 2 immune responses, studying a cell population called type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2).

Research group

Allergic & Parasitic Diseases Programme
Programme Leader: Professor Graham Le Gros
Senior Research Officers: Mali Camberis
Melanie Prout
Research Fellows : Dr Francesco Vacca
PhD Student: Jodie Chandler
Research Officers: Bibek Yumnam
Brittany Lewer
Sophia Noble
Tama Te Kawa
Masters Student: John Mamum
Bioinformatics Research Officer: Sam Old

Research projects

At the Malaghan my project will focus on investigating the possible immunomodulatory effect of the human hookworm Necator americanus and the murine nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus.