Marelli-Berg, Federica

Federcia Marelli-Berg

BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Immunology/ Centre Lead of Biochemical Pharmacology

Federica Marelli-Berg qualified in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Milan in 1989, and specialized in Hematology in 1993 at the University of Pavia, Italy. In 1997 she completed her PhD studies at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (London) under the supervision of Professor R. Lechler. In 2000 she was awarded a Governors’ lectureship by Imperial College London, where she continued her academic career to become Professor of Immunology in 2011. She joined the WHRI  (Barts and The London SMD, QMUL) as Professor of Cardiovascular Immunology in November 2011, and in January 2014 she was invited to lead the Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology.

In 2015 she was awarded a prestigious Personal Chair in Cardiovascular Immunology by the British Heart Foundation.

Summary of Research

Cardiovascular Immunology

Effective immunity relies upon the prompt localization of activated T lymphocytes to the site of pathogen invasion. While other leukocytes migrate in response to non-specific inflammatory stimuli, activated T lymphocytes must discriminate and migrate to tissues where their cognate antigen is located.
 The regulation of memory T lymphocyte trafficking is the main focus of my research. Our major contributions have been in the field of antigen-dependent recruitment, which allows selective recruitment of primed T cells to antigenic sites, and have unveiled key molecular mechanisms of this effect, which can be targeted pharmacologically. More recently, we have described key mechanisms of regulatory T cell migration to lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissue, and identified a new molecular pathway of T cell homing to the heart. 
 In addition, based on preliminary observations we are testing innovative vaccination strategies (organ-specific vaccination) aimed to achieve organ-selective memory T cell trafficking and amplifying the potential of adaptive T cell memory in HIV infection and gut infestations, which is highly relevant to worldwide infectious diseases.

Our laboratory is currently investigating the metabolic pathways fuelling T lymphocyte migration, and we have reported that aerobic glycolysis is essential for T cell motility, which can be modulated by glycolysis end products in inflammatory conditions.

The long-term plan of our research is to provide translational bridges between T cell homing mechanisms and the therapy of chronic human immune-mediated diseases, including transplant rejection and autoimmunity.

Migrating Lymphocyte
Migrating Lymphocyte

Members of the Group

Research staff: Dr Kenneth Cheung; Dr Hongmei Fu; Dr David Coe; Dr Suchita Nadkarni; Dr Claudio Mauro; Dr Paula Longhi: Ms Guosu Wang; Ms Eleanor Jayne Ward; Mr Rober Haas; Ms Liz Wood; Dr Sandeep Sundara-Rajan; Dr Joanne Smith; Dr Danilo Cucchi; Ms Claire McDougall

Key Publications

For a full list of publist publications click here

Cheung K, Ma L, Wang G, Coe D, Ferro R, Falasca M, Buckley CD, Mauro C, Marelli-Berg FM. D31 signals confer immune privilege to the vascular endothelium.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Oct 27;112(43):E5815-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1509627112. Epub 2015 Sep 21.
PMID: 26392551 Free PMC Article

Norata GD, Caligiuri G, Chavakis T, Matarese G, Netea MG, Nicoletti A, O'Neill LA, Marelli-Berg FM. The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Translational Immunometabolism. Immunity. 2015 Sep 15;43(3):421-34. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.08.023. Review.
PMID: 26377896

Haas R, Smith J, Rocher-Ros V, Nadkarni S, Montero-Melendez T, D'Acquisto F, Bland EJ, Bombardieri M, Pitzalis C, Perretti M, Marelli-Berg FM, Mauro C. Lactate Regulates Metabolic and Pro-inflammatory Circuits in Control of T Cell Migration and Effector Functions.
PLoS Biol. 2015 Jul 16;13(7):e1002202. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002202. eCollection 2015 Jul.
PMID: 26181372 Free PMC Article

Komarowska I, Coe D, Wang G, Haas R, Mauro C, Kishore M, Cooper D, Nadkarni S, Fu H, Steinbruchel DA, Pitzalis C, Anderson G, Bucy P, Lombardi G, Breckenridge R, Marelli-Berg FM.
Hepatocyte Growth Factor Receptor c-Met Instructs T Cell Cardiotropism and Promotes T Cell Migration to the Heart via Autocrine Chemokine Release. Immunity. 2015 Jun 16;42(6):1087-99. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.05.014. Epub 2015 Jun 9.
PMID: 26070483 Free PMC Article

Fu H, Kishore M, Gittens B, Wang G, Coe D, Komarowska I, Infante E, Ridley AJ, Cooper D, Perretti M, Marelli-Berg  FM. Self-recognition of the endothelium enables regulatory T-cell trafficking and defines the kinetics of immune regulation.Nat Commun. 2014 Mar 14;5:3436. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4436.

Ma, L., K.C.P. Cheung, M. Kishore, S. Nourshargh, C. Mauro and F.M. Marelli-Berg. 2012. CD31 exhibits multiple roles in regulating T lymphocyte trafficking in vivo. J. Immunol., 189(8):4104-11

Kishore M., L. Ma, G. Cornish, S. Nourshargh and F.M. Marelli-Berg, 2012. Primed T Cell Responses To Chemokines Are Regulated By The Immunoglobulin-Like Molecule CD31. PLoS One 7(6):e39443

Ma, L., C. Mauro C, G.H. Cornish, J.G. Chai, D. Coe, H. Fu, D. Patton, K. Okkenhaug, G. Franzoso, J.  Dyson, S. Nourshargh and F.M.Marelli-Berg. 2010. Ig gene-like molecule CD31 plays a nonredundant role in the regulation of T-cell immunity and tolerance. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107:19461-6.

David, R., L. Ma, A. Ivetic, A. Takesono, A.J. Ridley, J.-G. Chai, V.L. Tybulewicz and F.M. Marelli-Berg. 2009. T-cell receptor- and CD28-induced Vav1 activity is required for the accumulation of primed T cells into antigenic tissue. Blood, 113:3696-705

Jarmin, S.J., R. David, L. Ma, J.G. Chai, H. Dewchand, A. Takesono, A.J. Ridley, K.Okkenhaug, and F.M. Marelli-Berg.  2008. T cell receptor-induced phosphoinositide-3-kinase p110delta activity is required for T cell localization to antigenic tissue in mice. J Clin. Invest, 118:1154-1164.

Mirenda, V., S.J. Jarmin, R. David, J. Dyson, D. Scott, Y. Gu, R. Lechler, K. Okkenhaug, and F.M. Marelli-Berg. 2007. Physiological and aberrant regulation of memory T cell trafficking by the costimulatory molecule CD28. Blood, 109:2968-2977

Mirenda, V., O. Millington, R. I. Lechler, D. Scott, M. P. Hernandez-Fuentes, J. Read, P. H. Tan, A. J. George, P. Garside and F. M. Marelli-Berg. 2005. Tolerant T cells display impaired trafficking ability. Eur. J. Immunol., 35:2146-2156 

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