Our Lab

Pears Building, UCL

We are pleased to be working alongside colleagues in the new state-of-the-art Pears Building, Institute of Immunity & Transplantation, UCL.

Since opening in Summer 2021, the IIT has brought together world leading scientists, academic clinicians, and clinical trial specialists, with the primary aim of achieving the ambitious goal of becoming an international centre of excellence for immunology research to directly improve human health.

Our home in the IIT delivers spacious, light, and airy architecturally intriguing laboratory space and open plan, collaborative office space. The Institute provides productive partnerships between basic research and the wealth of clinical specimens from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust due to its location and the drive of the people involved.

Something important to me, the cutting-edge laboratories have been specifically designed to not only facilitate high impact immunological research but to be environmentally friendly. The building itself has been fitted with solar panels to generate electricity for its running and a ‘brown’ roof to provide habitats for local wildlife.

Pears Building

Our Research

The liver is our largest internal organ that acts as a central hub for many physiological processes. Accordingly, immune responses within the liver are tightly controlled to prevent unnecessary organ damage. Although the liver has an unrivalled ability to regenerate when injured, persistent injury or inflammation can lead to the build-up of scar tissue as it attempts to repair. The build-up of such scar tissue (largely made up of extracellular matrix proteins) can results in liver dysfunction and the development of fibrosis/cirrhosis. But why do we care? Since 2018, liver fibrosis (and associated chronic liver disease) features in the top ten causes of premature death in the UK and kills individuals ~19 years younger than cancer or heart disease.

The liver is home to a number of 'residents', that provide specialised immune-surveillance and protection. We recently described a population of long-lived, tissue-resident T cells that are equipped with the necessary armoury to control hepatotropic infections, and showed that they can adapt phenotypically and functionally depending on cues from their microenvironment.

Our Lab Royal Free FACS Machine

In addition, the liver has a unique population of stromal cells, that when exposed to chronic injury become the master regulators of fibrosis. It is these overactivated stromal cells that differentiate into myofibroblasts that then produce excessive amounts of extracellular matrix proteins, causing the liver to increase in stiffness and functionality to ultimately deteriorate.

Here in the Pallett lab we are interested in understanding how tissue-resident T cells and the underlying stromal cells ‘co-operate and communicate’ in the setting of fibrosis. We are particularly focussing on how these ‘local intrahepatic cells’ interact in both the healthy and diseased human liver, asking questions such as “can tissue-resident T cell contribute to tissue damage and/or tissue repair?” and “whether we can we harness the pathways involved to develop improved treatments for patients?”.

Our Team

Laura Pallett

Principal Investigator

I have a degree in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Manchester (UK) and a PhD from UCL in Viral Immunology. I love all things liver immunology, resident T cells and immunometabolism. I can’t let go though of topics I have previously worked on, so still like to stay in touch with the latest in HBV immunology and general concepts in T cell dysfunction.

Guilty Pleasure: Coronation Street (don’t judge me too much!)

George Finney

Postdoctoral Researcher

I have degrees in Cell Biology from the University of Stirling, and in Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases from the University of Glasgow. I've recently gained a PhD in viral immunology from the University of Glasgow. Within the field of lung immunology, I'm fascinated by memory T cells, immune-stromal cell communication and how these concepts link together. From the lung to the liver, I'm all about how the tissue microenvironment shapes T cells.

Guilty Pleasure: Taking pictures of food - I just can't help myself!

Stephanie Kucykowicz

PhD Student

I completed my MSc degree in Parasitology and BSc degree in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University, Montreal. After crossing the Atlantic, I joined Prof. Mala Maini’s lab to expand my knowledge and skills in the field of immunology and developed an interest in T cells and their role in regulating anti-tumour responses within the liver. This led me to start my PhD, combining forces between Laura and Mala, to study how the interactions with other immune cells and the tumour microenvironment can shape the T cell responses in HCC.

Guilty Pleasure: Watching Friends - I never get bored of it!

Daniel Brown Romero

Research Technician

I have a degree in Biology from the University Autónoma de Madrid and an MSc in Immunology from Imperial College London. I originally became interested in liver immunology whilst investigating the influence of the gut microbiome on HCC through immunometabolic changes in innate populations within the gut-liver axis at IMDEA. I have always been fascinated by anything immunometabolism related and how the tissue microenvironment shapes immune responses.

Guilty Pleasure: Spending all my money on my vinyl collection, it’s becoming a real problem.

Ginevra Pistocchi

Research Technician

I have a degree in Medical Biosciences from Imperial College London and have just completed my MRes in Experimental and Translational Immunology at UCL. During my Masters, I joined Dr Leo Swadling’s lab, where I investigated the heterogeneity of memory T- cells residing in the liver. That experience introduced me to the world of liver immunology, and I developed an interest in tissue residency and the mechanisms of the liver microenvironment that influence it.

Guilty Pleasure: Spending all my money on my vinyl collection, it’s becoming a real problem.

Anadita Mathur

Research Technician

I have recently completed my MSc in Immunology at Imperial College London. Prior to that, I pursued a BSc (Hons.) in Biomedical Science at the University of Delhi, India. During my MSc thesis, I investigated spatial lipidomic changes and immune dysregulations in the case of APAP-induced acute liver injury. This research has deepened my interest in liver immunology. Having previously examined the macrophage response in the injured liver, I am now eager to gain a comprehensive understanding of the responses elicited by other innate and adaptive immune cells, such as T-cells and stromal cells, in the context of liver diseases.

Guilty Pleasure: Going grocery shopping every single day. Yes, I intentionally leave out some items during my initial trip so that I can purchase them the next day.


We are proud to say we have a Silver LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) award.

LEAF is a standard set by UCL to improve the sustainability and efficiency of research laboratories. Why do we believe this is important? Research labs are resource intensive - a typical lab will consume 3-10 times more energy per m2 than standard office spaces, so we do our best to make our space more environmentally sustainable.

To read more about LEAF, click here. And for resources and materials to improve your own lab space, click here


Data Science for Immunologists

As well as our laboratory research, I also have a huge passion for data analytics and data science. With data being generated at ever greater volume and fidelity, advanced analytic techniques are becoming more and more important in immunological research.

With this in mind, I co-authored a book in 2018 called "Data Science for Immunologists", aimed at medical researchers and immunologists introducing key concepts in programming, statistics and machine learning.

You can read more about Data Science for Immunologists here


Love Immunology, and want to learn more? Check out these fantastic online seminars.

Global Immunotalks (@globalimmuno)

Hosted live each Wednesday 9am PST, 12pm EST, 5pm GMT with a Q&A session with the speakers via Twitter (follow the hashtag #globalimmuno) Or find all previous talks posted on the Global Immunotalks Youtube page https://www.youtube.com/c/GLOBALIMMUNOTALKS

Early Career Immunology Digital Seminar Series (@EarlyImmunology)

Streamed live (and recorded) via Youtube. Subscribe for updates at https://www.earlycareerimmunology.com

Contact Us

laura.pallett (@) ucl.ac.uk