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Awen Gallimore

Professor Awen Gallimore

Co-Director of Systems Immunity Research Institute

School of Medicine

+44 29206 87012
Henry Wellcome Building for Biomedical Research, Room Third Floor, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN
Welsh speaking
Available for postgraduate supervision


My laboratory is focussed on understanding how the immune system works. We are specifically interested in identifying the correlates of anti-viral and anti-cancer immunity and in using this information to guide the design of new treatments.

I run my lab with Professor Andrew Godkin, clinical academic and College Theme Lead for Immunology.

Detailed information relating to our cancer research can be found by visiting

Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As an Immunology lab, we have responded to the pandemic by establishing a School-wide COVID-19 literature review to support clinicians and scientists working on COVID-19.

In addition, we are part of a UKRI-funded national consortium of immunologists examining the interplay between SARS-CoV-2 and the immune system. We are also part of a National Core Study to examine anti-viral T cell responses in asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals.






























Book sections


Although the main job or our immune system is to protect us from infection by pathogens, it has recently it has become apparent that it is possible to persuade the immune system to recognise and kill cancer. In fact, new medicines have been made which boost the immune systems' ability to recognise cancer. This type of treatment is called immunotherapy.

The problem is that so far, immunotherapy only works for some patients with certain types of cancer. Every cancer is different and the conditions that allow a good immune response to develop in a skin cancer are different to those needed to allow a good immune response to develop in a breast cancer. We know that cancers can put up barriers which help them resist immune attack – variations on these barriers exist in different cancers meaning that immunotherapies must be tailored to overcome the obstacles that a particular cancer type brings.

My laboratory is focussed on identifying and overcoming barriers to successful immunotherapy. Specifically, we are trying to understand how a population of immune cells, called regulatory T cells act to suppress anti-cancer immune responses and how they can be disabled to promote tumour immunity. In addition, we are examining tumour blood vessels and asking how we can manipulate these in order to allow immune cells better access to tumours in order that they can more efficiently find and kill their targets.  


I deliver lectures and tutorials in Immunology to undergraduates in Medicine and Pharmacy.

SSC Tutorials and Lab Based Projects – Medical Students

European Society of Immunology Summer School in Sardinia 2009, 2011 and 2013, 2017.

John Humphreys Summer School, Havana, Cuba, 2012

External Examiner for BSc (HONS) in Immunology at Glasgow University 1.10.14 – 30.9.18


I am a Professor at the Division of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University. I gained a DPhil in 1995 in Professor Andrew McMichael's laboratory in Oxford, studying T cell responses to simian and human immunodeficiency viruses (SIV and HIV). With a Wellcome Trust travelling fellowship I subsequently moved to the laboratory of the Nobel laureate Professor Rolf Zinkernagel in Zurich to further study factors governing anti-viral immunity.

I then established my own laboratory with further Wellcome Trust funding at the Nuffield Department of Medicine in Oxford. At this time, the I started to investigate how lessons learnt from studying anti-viral immunity could be applied to cancer immunology. Specifically, my group focussed on regulatory T cells and were amongst the first to demonstrate that this T cell sub-population inhibited effective anti-cancer T cell responses. I moved to Cardiff in 2002, shortly afterwards gainin a senior fellowship from the MRC to expand the lab. The Cardiff lab, which currently receives its funding from Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research Wales, The Wellcome Trust and Breast Cancer Now takes basic research using animal models of cancer through to testing novel immunotherapies in patients.

Currently, I am the College of Life Sciences Cancer Theme Lead.

Honours and awards


1995 – 1998

Wellcome Trust Travelling Fellowship

University of Zurich, Switzerland.

1998 – 1999

Wellcome Trust Travelling Fellowship

University of Oxford.

2000 – 2005

Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship

University of Oxford / Cardiff University

2006 – 2011

MRC Non-Clinical Senior Fellowship

Cardiff University

2011 – 2016

Wellcome Trust University Award

Cardiff University

Professional memberships

Treasurer of BSI Cancer Immunology Affinity Group.

Member of the British Society for Immunology (BSI) – National Cancer Research Institute, Cancer Immunology Steering Group

Academic positions

2013 - present: Professor, Cardiff University

2008 - 2013: Reader, Cardiff University

2002 - 2008: Lecturer / Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

1999 - 2002: Career Development Fellow, Oxford University

1998 - 1999: Postdoctoral researcher, Oxford University

1995 - 1998: Postdoctoral researcher, University of Zurich

1991 - 1995: DPhil student, Oxford University

Committees and reviewing

Editorial Duties:

Review Editor Frontiers in Immunology since 2011

Associate Editor of Immunology since June, 2012

Member of Editorial Board Cancer Research 2013 – 2016

Grant Review / Board Memberships:

2016 - Member – Vice-chair -              Chair of Cancer Research UK "Immunology Expert review Panel"

2017 – 2021    Member of Cancer Research UK Discovery Research Committee

2017 - 2023     Worldwide Cancer Research panel grant

2018 -              Reviewer for the Cancer Research Center (CRC) Zürich (annual).

2018 -             Reviewer for the Association of Italian Cancer Research (annual).

2019 – Invited Member of British Society for Immunology (BSI) –             National Cancer Research Institute, Cancer Immunology Steering Group

2019 - 2022     Invited member of Canada Immunotherapy Network Research Management Committee (BioCanRx)

2020                Cancer Research UK Member Panel Quinquennial Review of Cancer Research UK Drug Discovery Units


Recently Completed

Ana Pires Exploring the Reciprocal Relationship Between the Immune System and the Tumour Microenvironment

Stefan Milutinovic Exploring the Reciprocal Relationship Between the Immune System and the Tumour Microenvironment

Currently Supervising

Jake Scott Targeting the Vasculature to Improve cancer

Carissa Wong Addressing cellular interactions in tumours in vivo to control tumour immunity

Jessica Oliver Harnessing the Immune Response to Radiotherapy


Valentina Bart An Objective Systems Approach to Dissect the Contribution of Macrophages to Cancer Growth and Metastasis

Lorenzo Capitani Targeting LAG3+ T Cells for Cancer Immunotherapy

Alicia Crespo Establishing a Potent and Highly Tumour Selective Immuno-Oncolytic Virotherapy for Colorectal Cancer

Rebecca Wallace Development of Precision Virotherapies Capable of evading Anti-vector Immunity

Eleanor Bird Investigating Links between Regulatory T Cell Depletion and Psychosis


Current Activities

*Cancer Research Webinars and YouTube videos produced to discuss and share cancer research developments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

*Ongoing Wellcome Trust ISSF-funded project to develop a computer game to promote an understanding of the interactions between cancer and the immune system.

Past Activities

*Television documentary entitled “Cancer Wars” shown on BBC World

* Regular participation in Science and Health day School of Medicine, Cardiff.

* Contribution to cancer charity newsletters (Tenovus, WCRF)

* BBC Wales Radio Interview and S4C news interviews.

* Won Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Funds (ISSF) for a project designed to allow schoolchildren to use their artistic vision to express their understanding of biomedical science, 2015/16. Facebook:

* Won a “Systems Immunity University Research Institute” award for a project designed to introduce the concept of big data to primary school children and to explore links between philosophy and immunology.

*Participation at the Eisteddfod including science stalls and speaking events.

* Regular hosting of events to discuss cancer research with patients, their families and friends (often in partnership with cancer charities.

* Speaker at Cardiff CRUK sponsored “Young Art” competition, Cardiff. March 2019.

* Rogue Cells Exhibition Stand, Techniquest. March, 2019.