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.


Lydia Dyck, PhD

Postdoctoral scientist.

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

Cathal Harmon, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher.

Project: Harnessing gamma-delta T cells in anti-tumour immunity: By investigating the heterogeneity of innate lymphocytes in human tumours, this project hopes to identify the most useful subsets for cellular therapy and checkpoint targeting in cancer patients.

Science Interests: Tumour immunology, immunotherapy, tumour microenvironment

Interests/hobbies outside of science: When I’m not in the lab I enjoy travelling, reading, movies and sampling every craft beer and coffee made by mankind.

Favourite Cell: How can you choose just one innate lymphocyte, they all work so well together. NK cells and gamma delta T cells are a personal favourite though.

Claire McIntyre, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher.

Project:Understanding the regulation of IL-17 production in adipose tissue and its role in altering lipid metabolism during the response to cold, cachexia or fever.

Science interests: All things related to gamma-delta T cells

Interests/hobbies outside of science: I love to spend time baking and cooking, also anything involving gin!

Favourite Cell: It has to be gamma delta T cells.

William Trim, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher.

Project: Characterising human adipose tissue in health and disease.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Playing the guitar and piano, history, travelling and frequenting dimly-lit jazz bars.

Favourite Cell: The many types of adipose tissue macrophages

Lab Managers

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

Áine Ni Scannail

Lab Manager

Role: My role is to help everywhere I can, from tissues to finances! I hope that I can help to create a relaxed work environment in which we can all have our daily dose of fun.

Science interests: My background is in genetics and I find the epigenetics of brain function fascinating but the more I learn about immunology the more incredible it becomes!  

Interests/hobbies outside of science:  I love hiking for days on end, swimming and all things outdoors. I’ve done my fair share of traveling but have no intentions of stopping any time soon!

Favourite cell: Remains to be determined… but I have a sneaky feeling it will end up being those Gamma delta T-cells!

PhD Students

Nelson LaMarche

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

PhD Student

Project: Single Cell RNA-Seq analysis, iNKT cell biology and cellular metabolism. I also collaborate with many of these other lovely people on various bioinformatics-based projects.

Science Interests: Single Cell RNA-Seq, Bioinformatics, Innate T cells, Immunometabolism.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Kayak Polo, games, tea and jumpers.

Favourite Cell: iNKT cells of course. I also have a soft spot for other innate T cells and classic CD4+ T cells.

Hannah Prendeville

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.

Aaron Douglas

PhD Student

Project: Understanding the role of innate lymphocytes in thermosensation, thermoregulation and thermogenesis.

Science Interests:Neuroscience, immunology and everything in between (Neuroimmunology).

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Karate, boxing, gaming, power-lifting, mixology, music- guitar, drums and saxophone player. Previous member of the band Thick as Thieves!

Favourite Cell: Is it cheating if I have three? Gamma delta T cells, TRMP8 Sensory Neurons and most recently Type 3 Innate Lymphoid cells (ILC3s)

Stephen Cunningham

PhD Student

Project: Targeting human gamma delta T cell metabolism for improved longevity and anti-cancer function in the tumor microenvironment.

Science Interests: Immunometabolism, immunotherapeutics, tumor immunology, immune signalling.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: Music, graphics, dogs.

Favourite Cell: Gamma delta T cells and NK cells

Danielle Duquette

Senior Technician, Lab Manager, PhD student

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!

Research Faculty

Amanda Garza, PhD

BWH/HMS Research Faculty, Associate Director, BWH Metabolic Core, Instructor in Medicine/HMS, Associate Biochemist/BWH

Career background: 

PhD from the  Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Hormonal Mechanisms fo Cardiovascular Injury (HMCI)Laboratory at BWH

Interests/hobbies outside of science: I enjoy IPAs, playing soccer, anything outdoors and a well-earned nap.

Favourite cell: Samsung E300 😊

Past Members/

Interns/Visiting Scholars

Roisin Loftus, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher.

Project: The focus of my research is to characterise the mechanisms by which obesity impairs Natural Killer cell metabolism and function. I am interested in the relationship between PPAR transcription factors and obesity in NK cell activation and hope to uncover how lipids suppress Natural Killer cell mTORC1 activity.

Science Interests: Immunometabolism, signal transduction, cytotoxic assays, flow cytometry.

Interests/hobbies outside of science: I love to travel, swim in the Irish Sea, hike in the Wicklow mountains and pump iron with my personal trainer Aaron

Favourite Cell: Natural Killer cells of course

Mathilde Raverdeau, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher.

Project: My research lies in identifying how the gamma delta T cells differ and how they each participate in the immune response. I am looking at their phenotypes, metabolism, and I am interested in their function in disease propagation and mitigation.

Science Interests: Anything related to immunology!

Interests/hobbies outside of science: I love hiking, painting and gardening…and cheese and wine (what can you do against your cultural heritage?!)

Favourite Cell: Gamma Delta T cells rock!

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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

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

Ayano Kohlgruber, PhD

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