Professor Peter Monk

BSc, PhD

Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease

Professor of Immunology

p.monk@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 215 9538

Full contact details

Professor Peter Monk
Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease
The Medical School
Beech Hill Road
Sheffield
S10 2RX
Profile

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.

Research interests

Models of infection in human tissue

Controlling bacterial infection by the repeated use of antibiotics invites the development of bacterial resistance (e.g. MRSA) and so new approaches for control are urgently required. One such strategy is the prevention of bacterial adhesion.

Bacteria are rapidly removed by normal immune mechanisms unless the bacteria can adhere strongly to host tissues; if this initial step in colonisation can be prevented, infection becomes much less likely.

Testing new drugs that can prevent bacterial binding requires more sophisticated models of infection than are currently available and so I am working with colleagues in the Faculties of Engineering and Science to develop models of human skin, cornea and bladder infections.

Using our new facilities in the Sheffield Collabatorium on Biofilms and Antibiotic Resistance (SCARAB), we have are developing new long-term infection models that can be exploited to develop new therapies and improve our understanding of infections.

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.


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

Journal articles

Research group
  • Muslim Algabri
  • Hyfa Alzahrani
  • Nathan Wong
Teaching activities
  • 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).
  • 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.