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CIHR Skin Research Training Centre
Affiliated Mentors: Dr. Megan Levings
Megan Levings, PhD
Scientist Level 2, CFRI
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia
Diabetes, Nutrition & Metabolism (Diabetes)
Immunity in Health & Disease 
Childhood Cancer & Blood Research

A4-186, 950 West 28th Avenue, 
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4H4
Tel: 604-875-2000 x4686
Fax: 604-875-2373
Website: http://www.cfri.ca/levingslab/
Email: megan.levings@ubc.ca


BSc, Biology, Simon Fraser University
PhD, The Biomedical Research Centre, The University of British Columbia
Postdoctoral fellow, HSR-TIGET, San Raffaele Scientific Institute

Awards and honors

2003 New Investigator Award; Canadian Institutes of Health Research
2004 Hjalmar W. Johnson New Investigator Award; University of British Columbia
2003-2007 Career Investigator Scholar Award; Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
2007 Richard J. Finley Research Scholar Award; University of British Columbia
2009 Canadian Society for Immunology; New Investigator Award
2003-2013 CRC in Transplantation Tier II; Canada Research Chairs

Grant Support

Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada 
Child & Family Research Institute 
Genome BC
UBC Faculty of Medicine 
Canadian Institute of Health Research
Leukemia Lymphoma Society
Cancer Research Society
Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation           

Research interest

Research in my laboratory is focused on a novel subset of CD4+ T cells, termed T regulatory (Treg) cells, which control immune homeostasis. Although we know that Treg cells have a fundamental role in regulating immunity to both self and foreign proteins, little is known about how they function. Current work is focused on determining how Treg cells differ from normal CD4+ T cells at both the biochemical and molecular levels, and elucidating their role in transplantation tolerance, cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. A long-term goal is to develop methods to generate Treg cells in vitro for use as a cellular therapy to replace standard immunosuppression in the context of organ transplantation or to restore tolerance in the context of autoimmunity.
Specific projects currently on-going include:
• Studying the unique cell-signalling pathways in human and mouse Tregs
• Understanding the role of FOXP3 in Tregs and activated T effector cells
• Studying the interaction between Tregs and IL-17-producing cells
• Studying tissue-derived Tregs from patients with graft versus host disease or inflammatory bowel disease
• Developing methods to use Tregs as a cellular therapy in organ transplantation

Current lab members

Raewyn Broady (Clinician Scientist)
Rosa Garcia (Lab manager)
Jana Gillies (Technician)
Jessica Huang (Technician)
Scott Patterson (Post-doctoral fellow)
Maggie Yu (Post-doctoral fellow)
Alicia McMurchy (Graduate student)
Megan Himmel (Graduate student)
Adele Wang (Graduate student)
Kate MacDonald (Graduate student)
Jonathan Han (Graduate student) 

Selected recent publication

  1. McMurchy AN, Bushell A, Levings MK, Wood KJ. Moving to tolerance: Clinical application of T regulatory cells. Semin Immunol. 2011 May 28. PMID: 2160722
  2. Patterson SJ, Han JM, Garcia R, Assi K, Gao T, O'Neill A, Newton AC, Levings MK. Cutting edge: PHLPP regulates the development, function, and molecular signaling pathways of regulatory T cells. J Immunol. 2011 May 15;186(10):5533-7. PMID: 21498666
  3. Hardenberg G, Steiner TS, Levings MK. Environmental influences on T regulatory cells in inflammatory bowel disease. Semin Immunol. 2011 Apr;23(2):130-8. Review. PMID: 21295492
  4. Himmel ME, Crome SQ, Ivison S, Piccirillo C, Steiner TS, Levings MK. Human CD4+ FOXP3+ regulatory T cells produce CXCL8 and recruit neutrophils. Eur J Immunol. 2011 Feb;41(2):306-12.PMID: 21268001
  5. Wang AY, Crome SQ, Jenkins KM, Medin JA, Bramson JL, Levings MK. Adenoviral-transduced dendritic cells are susceptible to suppression by T regulatory cells and promote interleukin 17 production. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2011 Mar; 60 (3):381-8. PMID: 21153637
  6. McMurchy AN, Gillies J, Allan SE, Passerini L, Gambineri E, Roncarolo MG, Bacchetta R, Levings MK. Point mutants of forkhead box P3 that cause immune dysregulation, polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X-linked have diverse abilities to reprogram T cells into regulatory T cells. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Dec;126(6):1242-51. PMID: 21036387
  7. Broady R, Yu J, Chow V, Tantiworawit A, Kang C, Berg K, Martinka M, Ghoreishi M, Dutz J, Levings MK. Cutaneous GVHD is associated with the expansion of tissue-localized Th1 and not Th17 cells. Blood. 2010 Dec 16;116(25): 5748-51. PMID: 20864580
  8. Crome SQ, Clive B, Wang AY, Kang CY, Chow V, Yu J, Lai A, Ghahary A, Broady R, Levings MK. Inflammatory effects of ex vivo human Th17 cells are suppressed by regulatory T cells. J Immunol. 2010 Sep 15;185(6):3199-208. PMID: 20720207
  9. Crome, S.Q., Wang, A.Y. and Levings, M.K. Function and regulation of human Th17 cells in health and disease. Clinical and Experimental Immunology, 2010, 159:109-119. PMID: 19912252
  10. Broady R, Yu J, and Levings MK. ATG-induced expression of FOXP3 in human CD4+ T cells in vitro is associated with T cell activation and not the induction of FOXP3+ T regulatory cells. Blood, 2009. PMID: 19822903
  11. Locke, N.R., Patterson, S, Hamilton, M, Sly. L.M., Krystal, G., and Levings, M.K. SHIP regulates the reciprocal development of T regulatory and Th17 cells. J. IMMUNOLOGY. 2009, 183:975-983.PMID: 19542365

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