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Dr David Finlay


D. Finlay photo

Dr David Finlay
Assistant Professor
Phone: +353-1-8963564
Fax: +353-1-6772400
Location: 5th Floor, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute



Our immune system is important for our health protecting us from infection/cancer, but inappropriate immune responses cause us harm. Diverse diseases could be treated through therapeutic manipulation of our immune systems.  My research group wants to understand how to control immune cells and is now revealing the importance of cellular metabolism. Our research shows that the cellular fuels available to immune cells and the ways that these fuels are used have a big impact on their function. We are revealing novel strategies to modulate immune cell function through targeting cellular metabolism and new therapeutic opportunities are being explored.

Specifically, our data show that the metabolic regulators mTORC1, cMyc and Srebp are key regulators of immune cell metabolism and function in Natural Killer (NK) cells. In contrast to lymphocytes, mTORC1 and glycolytic metabolism inhibits the function of Dendritic Cells (DC); starving DC of glucose results in increased proinflammatory outputs and enhanced DC-induced T cell responses.  Our work is further characterising the molecular links between cellular metabolism and immune cell function.

Ongoing projects include:

  • Investigating nutrients as key determinants of DC-induced CD8 T cell responses
  • Characterising metabolic networks in activated NK cells and how they facilitate NK cell immune function.

Trinity Week 2018 Podcast
For more “Trinity Talks Science” podcasts see

Model for “Glucose regulation of DC-induced T cell responses”
from our recent Nature Communications paper; Lawless et al., 2017


Current Research Students:
Vanessa Bittencourt
Nidhi Mehta
Katie O’Brien
Jessica Walls
Chloe Choi

Postdoctoral Research Scientists:
Dr Nadine Assmann
Dr Elisabeth Littwitz-Salomon
Dr Diana Moreira


ERC Consolidator Award
Marie Curie Fellowship
Science Foundation Ireland
Science Without Borders (Brazil)
Irish Cancer Society


Prof Clair Gardiner - School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin.
Prof Donal O’Shea - RCSI, Dublin
Dr Lydia Lynch - School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Andy Hogan - National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
Prof Doreen Cantrell - School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland.
Prof Angus Lamond - School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland.
Prof Christoph Hess - University of Basel, Switzerland.



Last updated 16 July 2018 (Email).