IMMUNE REGULATION LABORATORY
Professor Oliver Garden’s laboratory at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, specialises in cellular immunology, with a specific expertise in regulatory T cell (Treg) and myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) biology. Oliver started his laboratory with the aid of a Wellcome Trust Advanced Fellowship in 2001 within the Department of Immunology, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Campus, following post-doctoral training at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and a Residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Oliver Garden's team comprises clinical and research staff, including veterinarians, doctoral candidates, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, interns, residents, and students. Current Staff includes Dr. Jie Luo, Ms. Julia Ying Wu, Ms. Sabina Hlavaty, as well as several undergraduate student workers. Alumni include Dr. Michelle Goulart, Mr. Michael Denyer, Dr. Dammy Pinheiro, Dr. James Swann, and Mr. Luca Fortuna. To date, six PhD students, five BSc students and 14 MSc students have successfully graduated following projects carried out within Oliver’s laboratory. Of the MSc students, ten gained Distinctions for their projects and all but two have completed – or are currently completing – successful PhD projects. Of the PhD students, all completed their theses within three or four years (depending on the program) and have carved out successful careers in research, medical practice or (in one case) patent law. Most recently, Sabina Hlavaty was awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Burroughs Wellcome Fund Medical Research Fellowship for 2018/2019.
Key expertise and funding
Key techniques for which Oliver’s laboratory has specific expertise include T cell culture, including sophisticated Treg assays in vitro; multi-colour analytical flow cytometry; ELISAs and enhanced electrochemiluminescent assays of a number of Th1 and Th2 cytokines; and molecular biological techniques, including PCR, cloning and transduction of constructs into mammalian cells.
Total extra-mural grant income since 2003 has been ˜ $2.2m, including industrial sources, the Medical Research Council, Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC), European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM), Italian Ministry of Health, American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC), Wellcome Trust, and Petplan Charitable Trust (PPCT). Current funding includes grants from the PPCT and various commercial sponsors.
Delivering for industry
Oliver’s laboratory has successfully worked with seven major industrial partners over the past ten years, consistently delivering on-time and within budget – for both product-orientated projects and blue-sky research. The laboratory has a dynamic, forward-looking, innovative and committed work ethic – with an unquestionable dedication to its team members, to its academic funders and to its industrial partners.
The biennial Treg/Th Cell Symposium
Oliver has been the coordinator for a biennial series of one-day symposia "Treg: Regulatory T Cells and T Helper Cells", the first one of which (March 2012) focused on ontogeny, plasticity and clinical applications. See the Proceedings notes for the first of these exciting events, published in Immunology. These meetings have been organised with the help of the RVC Continuing Professional Development Unit. Six world-class speakers came to the RVC to share their research findings in March of 2012, supported by three short oral communications and a number of poster presentations by PhD students and post-doctoral scientists.
The second of these exciting symposia was held at the RVC on 25th April 2014. Speakers included Professors Joachim Schultze, Awen Gallimore, Lucy Walker and Anne Cooke, and Drs Jeff Davies and Megan MacLeod. Please see "Treg: Regulatory T Cells and T Helper Cells" for details. Proceedings notes were published in Immunology, as well as a meeting review by Julia Wu in Immunology News.
Two of Oliver's publications have been recognised by prestigious international awards:
(1) His review of systemic inflammatory response syndrome and sepsis, for which the first-named author is Dan Lewis, won an award for being one of the top five most downloaded publications in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2013, being downloaded a total of 6,372 times in this time period.
(2) His study of duodenal lesions in diet-responsive chronic enteropathy, for which the first-named author is David Walker, won a European Emesis Council / European Society of Comparative Gastroenterology award for the best gastrointestinal publication from a European research group in 2013.