Professor Peter Monk BSc PhD

Profesor of ImmunologyDr Pete Monk

Department of Infection, Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease
University of Sheffield
Medical School
Beech Hill Road
Sheffield
S10 2RX

Office: LU115
Tel: +44 (0114 215 9538
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 3892
Email: p.monk@sheffield.ac.uk

Secretary: Ms Jean Lazenby
Tel: +44 (0) 114 215 9509
Email: j.lazenby@sheffield.ac.uk

Biography:

I began my career in the Biochemistry Department in Sheffield in 1988 as a post-doctoral researcher, working for Professor Banks on chemoattractant signalling in monocytes, before working with Dr Birgit Helm on mast cell degranulation. In 1992, I became an independent researcher, funded by Arthritis Research UK to study the important pro-inflammatory mediator, complement fragment 5A (C5a).

In 1995, Arthritis Research UK awarded me a post-doctoral fellowship to establish my own laboratory, working on the interactions between C5a and its receptor. We were the first group to characterise the second C5a receptor, C5L2, now recognised to have important roles in inflammation and neurodegeneration. During this time, I also began work on the tetraspanin family of membrane proteins, identifying the hepatitis C virus E2 glycoprotein binding site on CD81.

I became a lecturer in the Department of Neurosciences in 2001 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2007, before moving to the Department of Infection and Immunity in 2009. I became Reader in Immunology in 2013 and Professor in 2017.

I am currently also the Director of International Affairs for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health and Chair of the Faculty Marketing Group.

Research Interests:

Complement fragment receptors

NMR structure of C5a

The complement cascade is a series of blood proteins forming a part of the immune system that responds to infection. Complement protein fragments (C4a, C3a) produced by activation of the cascade actually cause inflammation which is normally a good thing but, when excessively produced, they exacerbate inflammatory diseases and there are no drugs currently available to prevent this. We are investigating the molecular interactions that underlie complement fragment receptor (C5aR, C3aR, C5L2) functions with the aim of developing new drugs for anti-inflammatory therapy.

Tetraspanins

Tetraspanins have been implicated in many of the fundamental processes involved in the development and functioning of multicellular organisms, from sponges to man. These include cell fusion, migration, secretion, adhesion and signalling. Recently, several tetraspanins have been shown to have roles in microbial infections, including hepatitis C, HIV-1 and Chlamydia. Cell ingress and egress mechanisms involving tetraspanins are exploited by these intracellular pathogens. These mechanisms can be blocked by tetraspanin-specific reagents, suggesting that tetraspanins may be valuable drug targets. However, the molecular details of tetraspanin functions have yet to be fully elucidated. We are using mammalian and zebrafish models to further our understanding of this fascinating protein family.

Dimer of CD81 EC2 domains

Teaching Interests:

  • MSc Molecular Medicine MED6006 Complement; Allergy and Imunotherapy.
  • Preclinical Medicine Innate Immunity and Allergy; Laboratory-based SSC; Student PATS tutor.
  • MSc Genomic Medicine MEDT32/33 Complement Genetics.
  • MBB311 Molecular Immunology (innate immunity).
  • MBB334 Biochemical Basis of Human Disease.
  • MBB360 Third Year Undergraduate projects.
  • MBB460 Fourth Year Undergraduate Projects.

Professional Activities:

  • Member of British Society for Immunology; Biochemical Society, British Inflammation Research Association.
  • INSERM scientific evaluation Infection and Immunity panel member.
  • Co-organiser for international research conferences on tetraspanins.
  • Associate editor for BMC Immunology, Frontiers of Immunology.
  • Industry Consultancies.

Current Projects:

  • Analysis of the C5a receptor ligand binding site.
  • Control of C5a function by the second C5a receptor, C5aR2.
  • Development of C3aR and C5aR2 antagonists.
  • Tetraspanin function in monocyte giant cell formation.
  • Tetraspanins and intracellular pathogens.

Publications:

For key publications see below.  For a full list of publications click here.

Journal articles