Principal Investigator

Lydia Lynch, PhD

Lydia Lynch received her B.Sc. degree in Cell Biology and Genetics from University College Dublin, Ireland. She received her PhD in Immunology in 2008 from University College Dublin, in the lab of Prof. Cliona O’Farrelly in St. Vincent’s University Hospital.

Lydia received a Newman Fellowship for her early post-doctoral studies with Prof. Donal O’Shea in St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. Here they established the Immunology and Obesity Lab, which coordinates international, collaborative, translational research in obesity and its complications. Lydia then received the prestigious UNESCO-L’Oreal International Women In Science Fellowship, where she moved to Harvard Medical School to study iNKT cells in adipose tissue in the lab of Mark Exley. In 2009, Lydia received an International Marie Curie Fellowship to continue her postdoctoral studies in immunometabolism, in the labs of Prof. Michael Brenner and Prof. Ulrich von Andrian in Harvard. In 2013, she became a junior faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 2014, Lydia started her independent lab with a joint appointment between the Division of Endocrinology and the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Lydia’s lab is interested in the effects of obesity and diet on immune cell functions, particularly innate cells including iNKT cells, NK cells and T cells. The Lynch lab also studies the role of the immune system in the regulation of metabolism and body weight, particularly the local immune system in adipose tissue in mice and humans.


Xavier Michelet, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Project: Study of Natural Killer cell biology and dysfunction during obesity. My research focuses on deciphering the mechanisms by which a lipid rich environment impairs anti-tumor functions of NK cells.

Science Interests: My interest in cell biology brought me to study various applications including development, immunology and recently immunometabolsim. My research focuses on the study of the endo-lysosome pathway at the cellular level and how it impacts the whole organism. I am deeply interested in the lysosome biology that has proven to be more than the ‘cellular incinerator’ but involved in much broader functions such as antigen presentation, secretion, plasma membrane repair, signaling and metabolism. Using my cell biology and immunology skills, I wish to develop a novel niche, which investigates in detail the role of the lysosome and lysosomes related organelles in metabolic disease. The ability of the lysosome to sense nutrients and stress within the cell and to trigger key signaling pathways places it at the center of many research fields, particularly in metabolic disease.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Xavier loves Travel, History, Woodworking, Star Wars, and daughter Eleanore!

Favourite Cell: Natural Killer cell and Dentritic Cells

Cathriona Foley

Postdoctoral Researcher

Project: Defining strategies to manipulate gamma delta T cell metabolism, cytokine and effector function to improve cancer therapeutics

Science Interests: Innate immunology, immunometabolism, next generation sequencing

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Cathriona enjoys sport and music. Particularly playing gaelic football and camogie for her county of Cork, where she has won several All Ireland medals. She also took up soccer in her first months in Boston and quickly became one of the most valuable players!

Favourite Cell: gamma delta…in particular Vd1 at the moment!

Favourite Scientist: George Boole cause only for Cork he would never have developed Boolean Logic!!


Lydia Dyck

Postdoctoral scientist, Trinity College Dublin

Project: Effects of obesity on the immune regulation of cancer

Science Interests: Cancer immunology and immunotherapy, immune checkpoints, immunometabolism

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Hockey, tag rugby, pub quizzes, traveling

Favourite Cell: CD8 T cell

Lab Managers

Danielle Duquette

Senior Technician and Lab Manager

Project: Why do we have Granzyme K?

Science Interests: All things fish! And imaging immune cells! With a degree in Marine Biology and a masters in zoology, Danielle studied Sex determination in response to Stress in Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata).

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Outside of managing the lab, Danielle enjoys visiting aquariums all over the country, and crossfit challenges. Also art and making killer Halloween costumes!

Favourite cell: NK cells- bright and dims!

Joey Tilley

Lab Manager

Role: My role is to help with the administration, finances, orderings, equipment set up and maintenance, sample collections and to aid researchers when needed. Making lab life run smoothly for all researchers involved is my main aim.

Background: Immunology, Bioinformatics. Experiences with financial accounts and TCD administration.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Tennis, Floristry and Art (abstracts and animal portraits, facebook @tilleysfamilyart)

Favourite cell: Dendritic Cell

PhD Students

Ayano Kohlgruber

Graduate Student
(Co-mentored with Prof. Michael Brenner)

Project: Understanding the role of gamma delta T cells in adipose tissue biology

Science Interests: All things immunology!

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Outside of Immunology, Ayano enjoys hiking/backpacking, running, bread baking, teaching, labradoodles, and traveling!

Favourite cell: Gamma delta T cell

Nelson LaMarche

Harvard Immunology PhD Student
(Co-mentored with Michael Brenner)

Project: Adipose iNKT cells

Science Interests: Autoimmunity, immune regulation, innate-like T cells, immunometabolism

Interests/hobbies outside of science: When not in the lab, Nelson enjoys wine tasting, yoga, salsa dancing, and anything that has to do with dogs

Favourite Cell: iNKT cell of course, but the Treg is a close second

Harry Kane

TCD Immunology PhD Student

Project: My project is focused on the role of iNKT cells in metabolic regulation. Specifically, I am interested in how activated iNKT cells mediate the browning or ‘beiging’ of white adipose tissue and promote thermogenesis. To this end, I am investigating the iNKT-FGF21-adipocyte signalling axis.

Science Interests: Immunometabolism, metabolism (I know, weird), immunology.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Canoe Polo, gaming, jumpers and food (particularly cookies and pizza!)

Favourite Cell: iNKT cell is mandatory, but I have a soft spot for CD4+ T cells too.

Hannah Prendeville

TCD Immunology PhD Student

Project: Throughout my PhD I’ll be investigating the effects of various lipid rich diets on anti-tumour immunity. Specifically, I hope to understand how lipids are used by tumour-infiltrating leukocytes, if they are stored intra-cellularly or used as a fuel source and whether this impacts their pro- or anti-tumourigenic functions.

Science Interests: Immunometabolism, cancer immunology, innate immunity, cell signalling.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Music (violin), concerts, festivals, swimming and I’ve just joined the Trinity Hiking Society so I’ll see how that goes!

Favourite Cell: Tumour associated macrophages (TAMs) and NK cells.

Interns/Visiting Scholars

Samuel Carthy

Research Intern 2015

Project: The effects of obesity on NKT cells, in particular gene expression

Science Interests: Genetics, Biomedicine, Conservation Genetics

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Playing the cello, reading and games, both tabletop and computer.

Current position: Medicinal genetics researcher at Genomics Medicine Ireland

Andrew Hogan, PhD

Visiting postdoctoral scientist 2010 and 2015

Project: Investigating the GLP-1/iNKT cell axis

Science Interests: Childhood obesity Immunometabolism & Inflammation

Interests/hobbies outside of science: When Andy is not in the lab, he enjoys competing and teaching kickboxing Bouldering & Long Walks on the Beach. He also runs his own gym providing training for adults and children in Dublin Ireland.

Favourite Cell: MAIT cell

Current position: Co. P.I – National Children’s Research Centre, Ireland