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Magdalene College Cambridge

Professor Klaus Okkenhaug

Professor Klaus Okkenhaug is a Professorial Fellow at Magdalene.

Klaus Okkenhaug joined the Department of Pathology as its Professor of Immunology and the Head of the Division of Immunology in 2017. Since 2022 he has also been Deputy Head of the Department of Pathology (Research). He obtained his BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, followed by a PhD in Immunology from the University of Toronto. In 1999, he moved to London, UK, where he joined the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (UCL) as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Klaus joined the Immunology programme at the Babraham Institute as a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow and Group Leader in 2003. In 2011 he was among the first cohort to be awarded a Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award.

Research Interest

Klaus Okkenhaug investigates the role of cell signalling pathways in the immune system, with particular focus on the PI3K family of enzymes which transmit signals that instruct the response of immune cells to infections and cancer. In recent years, he has contributed to the description of a new primary immunodeficiency syndrome caused by activated PI3Kδ mutations (APDS) and his group demonstrated that the inhibition of PI3Kδ paradoxically unleashes a potent anti-tumour response. His research has also contributed to the development of drugs now used to treat leukaemia and lymphoma and he has advised numerous pharmaceutical companies in this area. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and reviews in leading journals and is an internationally-leading authority on the role of PI3Ks in immunity, infection and cancer.


1994-1999: PhD, University of Toronto

1989-1993: BSc University of Victoria, Canada

Career / Research Highlights

Professor of Immunology 2017-present

Wellcome investigator 2013-2018

BBSRC David Phillips Fellow 2003-2008.

Professional Affiliations

Member of the Biochemical Society

Member of the British Society for Immunology

Selected Publications

PI3Kδ Forms Distinct Multiprotein Complexes at the TCR Signalosome in Naïve and Differentiated CD4 + T Cells
Luff DH, Wojdyla K, Oxley D, Chessa T, Hudson K, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR, Barry ST, Okkenhaug K.
Frontiers in Immunology 2021. 12, 415
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.631271

Loss of Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase Activity in Regulatory T Cells Leads to Neuronal Inflammation
Stark AK, Davenport ECM, Patton DT, Scudamore CL, Vanhaesebroeck B, Veldhoen M, Garden OA, Okkenhaug K.
J Immunol. 2020. 205 (1) 78-89.
DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.2000043

PI3Kδ hyper-activation promotes development of B cells that exacerbate Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in an antibody-independent manner
Stark AK, Chandra A, Chakraborty K, Alam R, Carbonaro V, Clark J, Sriskantharajah S, Bradley G, Richter AG, Banham-Hall E, Clatworthy MR, Nejentsev S, Hamblin JN, Hessel EM, Condliffe AM, Okkenhaug K.
Nat Commun. 2018. 9(1):3174.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05674-8

Phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ inhibition promotes antitumor responses but antagonizes checkpoint inhibitors
Lim EL, Cugliandolo FM, Rosner DR, Gyori D, Roychoudhuri R, Okkenhaug K.
JCI Insight. 2018. 3(11). pii: 120626.
DOI: 10.1172/jci.insight.120626

PI3Kδ promotes CD4(+) T-cell interactions with antigen-presenting cells by increasing LFA-1 binding to ICAM-1
Garçon F and Okkenhaug K.
Immunol Cell Biol. 2016. 94(5):486-95.
DOI: 10.1038/icb.2016.1

PI3Kδ Regulates the Magnitude of CD8+ T Cell Responses after Challenge with Listeria monocytogenes
Pearce VQ, Bouabe H, MacQueen AR, Carbonaro V, Okkenhaug K.
J Immunol. 2015. 195(7):3206-17.
DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1501227

Inactivation of PI(3)K p110δ breaks regulatory T-cell-mediated immune tolerance to cancer
Ali K, Soond DR, Pineiro R, Hagemann T, Pearce W, Lim EL, Bouabe H, Scudamore CL, Hancox T, Maecker H, Friedman L, Turner M, Okkenhaug K, Vanhaesebroeck B.
Nature. 2014. 510(7505):407-411.
DOI: 10.1038/nature13444

Phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ gene mutation predisposes to respiratory infection and airway damage
Angulo I, Vadas O, Garçon F, Banham-Hall E, Plagnol V, Leahy TR, Baxendale H, Coulter T, Curtis J, Wu C, Blake-Palmer K, Perisic O, Smyth D, Maes M, Fiddler C, Juss J, Cilliers D, Markelj G, Chandra A, Farmer G, Kielkowska A, Clark J, Kracker S, Debré M, Picard C, Pellier I, Jabado N, Morris JA, Barcenas-Morales G, Fischer A, Stephens L, Hawkins P, Barrett JC, Abinun M, Clatworthy M, Durandy A, Doffinger R, Chilvers ER, Cant AJ, Kumararatne D, Okkenhaug K, Williams RL, Condliffe A, Nejentsev S.
Science. 2013. 342(6160):866-71.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243292