Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Professor Richard Cornall

Richard Cornall

Fellow and University Lecturer in Renal Medicine, Professor of Immunology



I grew up at Totland on the Isle of Wight where I went to the local school before going to Trinity College, Cambridge to study medicine and biochemistry, and then to Balliol College as a clinical student. The great Oxford scientist Robert Hooke (1635-1703) came from the same part of the island! I was fortunate to be encouraged by wonderful tutors in Cambridge and Oxford, and it is true that the teaching remains one of most rewarding features of the medical course in Oxford, for tutors and students alike. In Oxford I was also the President of Osler House, which represents all the clinical students. After qualifying, I worked mainly in London but I returned to Balliol to complete a DPhil on the genetics of autoimmune disease, which was awarded the Medical Research Society Medal. In 1994 I became a Research Fellow at Stanford University, California, and in 2000 returned to Oxford as a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow and Honorary Consultant. I was made Professor of Immunology in 2006 and University Lecturer in Renal Medicine and Fellow of Corpus Christi in 2007. I am the director of graduate studies in the Nuffield Department of Medicine.


My main scientific interest is the physiological basis of immune regulation and systemic autoimmunity, the treatment of autoimmune diseases and the use of genetics to identify new pathways involved in immunity to pathogens. Adverse immunological reactions to self and foreign antigens leading to autoimmune or inflammatory disease place a major economic and social burden on world health and individual quality of life, and so progress in this area will be very important. I am also interested in how people differ in their inherited susceptibility to these diseases and why these differences are sustained in human populations by natural selection.

Our immune system is made up of billions of immune cells called lymphocytes. We now know that each lymphocyte must go through a complex series of checkpoints before it is finally activated, each designed to maximise the ability to fight infectious agents and yet limit friendly fire! So my laboratory aims to understand these checkpoints and discover new ways to suppress or boost the activity of lymphocytes. We are also interested in new ways to monitor the immune response and the response to such therapy.

Details of our research are at:


My tutorials cover the Pathology and Microbiology course in the second year and Infection and Immunity option in the Final Honours School. The college is keen to support students who are interested in final year research in these areas. I also teach on some aspects of integrative physiology and human genetics. My lectures and seminars are in the Final Honours School, MSc in Immunology, Graduate Entry Medical Course, and DPhil Methods Course. Outside Oxford I also teach at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

Major Publications

Nijnik, A, L. Woodbine, S., C. Marchetti, Dawson, T.Lambe, C. Lui. N. Rodriques, T.L. Crockford, E. Cabuy, A. Vindigni, T. Enver, J.I.Bell, P. Slijepcevic, C.C. Goodnow, P.A. Jeggo, R.J. Cornall 2007. DNA repair maintains haematopoietic stem cells during ageing. Nature 447: 686-90.

Vinuesa, C.G., M.C. Cook, C. Angelucci, V. Athanasopoulos, L. Rui, K.M. Hill, D. Yu, H. Domaschenz, B. Whittle, T. Lambe, I.S. Roberts, R.R. Copley, J.I. Bell, R.J. Cornall, and C.C. Goodnow. 2005. A RING-type ubiquitin ligase family member required to repress follicular helper T cells and autoimmunity. Nature 435:452-458.

Ferry, H., M. Jones, D.J. Vaux, I.S. Roberts, and R.J. Cornall. 2003. The cellular location of self-antigen determines the positive and negative selection of autoreactive B cells. J Exp Med 198:1415-1425.

Cornall, R.J., J.G. Cyster, M.L. Hibbs, A.R. Dunn, K.L. Otipoby, E.A. Clark, and C.C. Goodnow. 1998. Polygenic autoimmune traits: Lyn, CD22, and SHP-1 are limiting elements of a biochemical pathway regulating BCR signaling and selection. Immunity 8:497-508.

Cornall, R.J., J.B. Prins, J.A. Todd, A. Pressey, N.H. DeLarato, L.S. Wicker, and L.B. Peterson. 1991. Type 1 diabetes in mice is linked to the interleukin-1 receptor and Lsh/Ity/Bcg genes on chromosome 1. Nature 353:262-265.

Todd, J.A., T.J. Aitman, R.J. Cornall, S. Ghosh, J.R. Hall, C.M. Hearne, A.M. Knight, J.M. Love, M.A. McAleer, J.B. Prins, and et al. 1991. Genetic analysis of autoimmune type 1 diabetes mellitus in mice. Nature 351:542-547.



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