Prof. Yuri Volkov came to Ireland in 1995 with a medical degree and PhD in biomedical sciences (Immunology). He has been working in the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute (TTMI) from the days of its founding, first as a postdoctoral researcher and subsequently - as a Principal Investigator. His research interests for a number of years have been directed towards characterization of cell adhesion receptors function in immune defence and disease development. Among the main achievements in this area was establishing of the importance of LFA-1 cell surface receptor for active T lymphocyte locomotion and disclosure of the role of the microtubule cytoskeleton and scaffolding protein CG-NAP functioning in live migrating T lymphocytes.
Subsequently, this led to the discovery and characterization of the crucial impact of intracellular phosphorylation enzyme of the protein kinase C family - PKC-Beta for the process of T cell migration. These studies included the first worldwide successful direct intranuclear microinjection of T lymphocytes with a functionally active PKC Beta Green Fluorescent Protein DNA construct and subsequent live imaging of migrating cells. Recently, the results of the previous fundamental studies enabled the research group to unveil the previously unknown LFA-1 integrin-mediated mechanism of the immune evasion by the hepatitis C virus, which currently represents one of the most worrying causes of long-term morbidity worldwide.
The group presently continues the studies towards understanding the mechanisms of adhesion-induced T cell migration, including characterization of molecular components of the LFA-1 induced protein complex, associated changes in gene expression and STAT-3 mediated signalling pathways in migratory lymphocytes.
Successful advancement of these studies has been made possible through the use of the cutting edge High Content Analysis (HCA) technologies. Prof. Volkov's group has made a key contribution into establishing of the multi-user HCA facility at the IMM which represent a unique setup in the academic institution at the international level. On the basis of this achievement, the Department of Clinical Medicine, TCD has recently launched a pioneering course specifically aimed at training scientists in automated High Content Screening and Analysis.
This new program constitutes an integrated module within three expanding Master of Sciences in Molecular Medicine programmes and is supported by three state-of-the-art HCA workstations dedicated to research and educational use. Most recently, the research interests of the group have extended into the applications of novel technologies for advanced biomedical studies and NanoMedicine as an emerging scientific discipline. Prof. Volkov has initiated and developed a large scale interdisciplinary alliance between the Departments of Clinical Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry at Trinity College, paving the way to the use of the microfluidics enabling platform for analysis of human leukocyte responses under shear stress in near physiological conditions and opening the opportunities to develop new nano-scale diagnostic and drug delivery systems.
These activities have led to a number of innovative publications and patents in the area. Prof. Volkov is currently also a Principal Investigator in NanoBiology of the Trinity College's CRANN-Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices, where his group is developing the applications of magnetically barcoded nanowires for ultra-sensitive research and medical diagnostics