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Dr Emily Swindle

BSc (Hons), PhD

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Dr Swindle's research is focused on building complex in vitro models of the airways incorporating structural cells (epithelial cells and fibroblasts) and immune cells (including mast cells) to determine their role in viral induced exacerbations of asthma. 

There are 3 main areas to her research: 

1) understanding the role of mast cells in viral immunity

2) understanding the interaction of bronchial epithelial cells with mast cells at barrier surfaces

3) developing an interdisciplinary approach to studying the epithelial barrier with close collaboration with engineers, computer scientists and chemists

Landmark publications:

Dr Swindle's group has shown that mast cells are permissive for productive HRV infection, a unique   quality among immune cells and that an epithelial-derived cytokine   (interleukin 33) enhances their infectivity:

  • Akoto C, Davies DE, Swindle EJ (2017). Mast   cells are permissive for rhinovirus replication: potential implications for   asthma exacerbations. Clin Exp Allergy. 47 (3): 351-360.)

  • Akoto C, Willis A, Banas CF, Bell JA, Bryant   D, Blume C, Davies DE, Swindle EJ. (2022). IL-33 Induces an Antiviral   Signature in Mast Cells but Enhances Their Permissiveness for Human   Rhinovirus Infection. Viruses. 14(11):2430. DOI: 10.3390/v14112430.

They have developed an airway epithelial barrier-on-chip (also known as an airway microphysiological system (MPS)) which can monitor epithelial barrier responses in real-time. New methods for delivery of challenges and compounds in a physiologically relevant manner to the apical surface have been developed using surface acoustic wave technology that generates aerosols. Combining microfluidics and cell biology provides a MPS that more closely recapitulates the physiological environment of the lung for understanding human (patho)physiological mechanisms, providing more predictive pre-clinical models for drug discovery and developing personalised medicine strategies.

  • Karra N, Fernandes J, Swindle EJ, Morgan H.   (2022). Integrating an aerosolized drug delivery device with conventional   static cultures and a dynamic airway barrier microphysiological system.   Biomicrofluidics, 16(5):054102. DOI: 10.1063/5.0100019

  • Fernandes JC, Karra N, Bowring J, Reale R,   James J, Pell T, Blume C, Rowan W, Davies DE, Swindle EJ, Morgan H. (2022).   Real-time monitoring of epithelial barrier function by impedance spectroscopy   in a microfluidic platform. Lab on a Chip. DOI: 10.1039/D1LC01046H

  • Tait A, Glynne-Jones P, Hill AR, Smart DE, Blume   C, Hammarstrom B, Fisher AL, Grossel MC, Swindle EJ, Hill M, Davies DE.   (2019) Engineering multi-layered tissue constructs using acoustic levitation.   Scientific Reports, 9 (1), [9789].

  • Blume C, Reale R, Held M, Loxham M, Millar TM,   Collins JE, Swindle EJ, Morgan H, Davies DE (2017). Cellular crosstalk   between airway epithelial and endothelial cells regulates barrier functions during exposure to double-stranded RNA. Immun. Inflamm. Dis. 5(1): 45-56.

  • Blume C, Reale R, Held M, Millar TM, Collins   JE, Davies DE, Morgan H, Swindle EJ (2015). Temporal monitoring of   differentiated human airway epithelial cells using microfluidics. PLoS One.   10(10):e0139872.

  • Sun T, Swindle EJ, Holloway JA, Davies DE,   Morgan H (2010). On-chip epithelial barrier functioning assay using   electrical impedance spectroscopy. Lab on a chip. 10(12):1611-1617

Major grants:

Emily has a number of PhD studentships and small grant awards (<£10K).

Current grant: 2021-2024: The IRIS Study: The Influence of Mepolizumab on Structural and Inflammatory Cells in Severe Eosinophilic Asthma (co-PI). GSK. £124,546 awarded to UoS.

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