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A 2021 DPhil Project

Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine. It regulates a complex signalling network able to trigger cell survival, as well as cell death via apoptosis or necrosis/necroptosis. Dysregulation of these processes is a hallmark of a myriad of disorders, including most prominently inflammatory diseases and tumour.

In a previous study, we found that conformational TNF carries the function of stimulating cell survive while peptides derived from TNF induce cell death, including apoptosis, necrosis or necroptosis.

A DPhil student is wanted to further exploit the project. The student will lead the project flexibly into the following directions:

  1. The role of TNF related inflammation in tumours (e.g. pancreatic cancer);
  2. The application of TNF related cell death in treating tumours
  3. The role and application of TNF related inflammation and cell death in other diseases (e.g. neuropathogenesis)  

There is a possibility of funding for studying the role of TNF-related inflammation in pancreatic cancer. See the link below at Project 41:


Lu W, Chen Q, Ying S, Xia X, Yu Z, Lui Y, Tranter G, Jin B, Song C, Seymour LW, and Jiang S. Evolutionarily conserved primary TNF sequences relate to its primitive functions in cell death induction. Journal of Cell Science 2016; 129(1): 108 – 120.

Lu, W., Wang, Y., Zhang, Q., Owen, S., Green, M., Ni, T., . . . Jiang, S. TNF-derived peptides inhibit tumour growth and metastasis through cytolytic effects on tumour lymphatics. Clinical and experimental immunology 2019; 198:198-211. doi:10.1111/cei.13340


Shisong Jiang


Senior Industrial Fellow

  • Immunology

Therapeutic vaccines; TNF-related inflammation

Research Interests

Research at Dr Jiang’s Laboratory focuses on understanding mechanisms of antigen presentation to the immune system; biomarker discovery and the development of new vaccines, including therapeutic vaccines with a particular emphasis on translating discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients. One major outcome of this work has been the development of a recombinant overlapping peptides technology for cancer therapeutic vaccines and diagnostics. This innovation has led to the formation of a spinout company, Oxford Vacmedix UK Ltd. Two candidates are close to clinical trials. Meanwhile the lab continues to focus on reaching an in-depth understanding of the immune pathways activated by ROPs and identifying additional targets that are amenable to the approach.

Another discovery at Dr Jiang’s Lab is a new biomarker, Inflammation Enhancer (IE). IE is an autoimmune disease factor - together with TNF, IE deteriorates inflammatory diseases such as sepsis and leads to high incidence of fatality. The lab is focusing on elucidating the pathway of IE that leads to inflammation. Diagnostic methods as well as treatments are also in development.


Alexander Stephens, DPhil Student

Yuqian Ou, DPhil Student

Sichen Liu, DPhil Student

Group Alumni & Next Destinations

Jian Wang - Associate Professor, Southwest University, Chongqing, China

Rong Hu, Attending Doctor,  Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology Beijing

Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, China

Sophie Owen - PhD Tropical Medicine, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK

Wenshu Lu - CEO, Shanghai Inflinhix Ltd

Neha Vashist-Postdoctoral Researcher, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany

Jason Huang - Associate Medical Director, Oncology, Asia-Pacific at Merck Group, Singapore

Qiongyu Chen - USA

Hongwei Zhang - Associate Chief Physician, Beijing You'an Hospital, Capital Medical University, China

Hai Hong - Associate Professor, Sun Yat-Sen University, China

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications