Dr Melanie Shakespear

Dr Melanie Shakespear attended the TOLL2015 Targeting Innate Immunity conference and presented her latest research findings at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. 

Program Area:
Marbella, Spain
Project Dates:
30 September - 12 October 2015


My work demonstrates that a protein called Histone Deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) in immune cells is an exciting target for anti-inflammatory drug design. The research team have generated a novel transgenic mouse model in which HDAC7 is expressed specifically in monocytes and macrophages. These mice have elevated levels of inflammatory mediators which drive not only inflammatory and autoimmune disease but also cancer and metabolic disease such as Type II diabetes.

Compounds that inhibit other HDACs are already approved to treat certain types of cancer, demonstrating that they are safe and effective in humans. This work demonstrates that HDAC7 in macrophages is an exciting target for development of novel inhibitors that will likely be applicable to many illnesses.


The TOLL2015 conference brings together the world’s leading researchers in the innate immunity field.  At the conference I presented a poster demonstrating that a protein called Histone Deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) in immune cells is a novel target for anti-inflammatory drug design. 

Attending this conference provided an opportunity to keep up to date with the latest advancements in the field and to create new contacts that will be relevant connections for my future career.

Presenting my latest research findings at University Heidelberg was also a fantastic opportunity to gain presentation experience, international exposure and direct feedback on my results.


Whilst attending the TOLL2015 conference I met with Dr Anthony Sadler (Monash) who works on the same family of proteins as I do. We discussed our recent research findings research in depth, identifying potential overlap and possibility for collaboration.

I also met Dr Kate Jeffrey (Boston, USA) whose research focuses on a similar family of proteins and who presented data that included an impressive set of clinical samples. I also made connections with early career researchers from University of Bonn (Germany), University of Basel (Switzerland) and Yale School of Medicine (USA).


This trip exceeded my expectations. The opportunity to present my research to an international audience was a great experience and provided feedback as I prepare this work for publication. The opportunity to meet researchers in slightly different areas of the innate immunity field was also invaluable.

Author: Dr Melanie Shakespear


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