Dr Simon Powis

Dr Simon Powis

I graduated from the University of Glasgow with a BSc (Hons) in Immunology in 1986, and then undertook PhD studies at the University of Cambridge, based at the Babraham Research Institute, graduating 1990. Two postdoctoral positions followed at Babraham, followed by a move the University of Dundee where I held a Wellcome Trust Career Development Award (1995-1999) and then an MRC Senior Fellowship from 1999-2004. In 2005, I moved to my current post in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews.

Throughout my career, my main research focus has been a group of molecules in the immune system called the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I molecules. These proteins are involved in protection against viral infections, cancer neogenesis and transplant rejection. I have been closely involved in characterizing how these MHC class I molecules assemble inside cells, where they undergo a complex series of quality control tests before being delivered to the cell surface for scrutiny by T lymphocytes and Natural Killer cells.

I am also studying one particular MHC class I molecule termed HLA-B27, which is closely involved in the development of a type of inflammatory arthritis of the spine called ankylosing spondylitis. If we can understand the role HLA-B27 plays, we will be able to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

With regard to teaching at the School, I deliver a series of lectures to medical students describing how the immune system works and what can happen when it goes wrong.

School Roles:

  • Postgraduate ProDean – oversight at faculty-level of postgraduate student business
  • Module Controller – MD5102, a series of research-focused seminars for the MRes degree.
  • Centrifuge Curator – fixing them when they go wrong.
data source: symbiosis

Research Overview from research@st-andrews
The immune system relies on the ability to detect when cells are virally infected, or potentially tumorigenic, and to specifically eliminate these cells. This is achieved by the actions of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class I molecules, which bind small peptides from the proteolytic turnover of proteins in the cytoplasm, and present these peptides on the cell surface to T lymphocytes. Detection of viral, or non-self, peptides can stimulate the generation of potent anti-viral cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses.
One particular human MHC class I molecule, HLA-B27, is also strongly associated with a type of inflammatory arthritis known as ankylosing spondylitis. The reasons for this association are still unclear, and we are therfore applying our knowledge of MHC class I assembly to this topic.

Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
25 (of 69 published available) for sjp10 (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

Label-free optical hemogram of granulocytes enhanced by artificial neural networks Roopam Gupta, Mingzhou Chen, Graeme P. A. Malcolm, Nils Hempler, Kishan Dholakia, Simon John Powis
Optics Express 2019 vol.27 pp.13706-13720
Quantitative proteomic changes in LPS-activated monocyte-derived dendritic cells Swati Arya, Silvia Anna Synowsky, Sally Lorna Shirran, Catherine Helen Botting, Simon John Powis, Alan J. Stewart
Scientific Reports 2019 vol.9 
Salmonella exploits HLA-B27 and host unfolded protein responses to promote intracellular replication Antony N. Antoniou, Izabela Lenart, Janos Kriston-Vizi, Takao Iwawaki, Mark Turmaine, Kirsty McHugh, Sadfer Ali, Neil Blake, Paul Bowness, Mona Bajaj-Elliott, Keith Gould, Darren Nesbeth, Simon John Powis
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2019 vol.78 pp.74–82
Non-obstructive intracellular nanolasers Marcel Schubert, Jothi Dinesh Kumar, Simon John Powis, Andrea Di Falco, Malte Christian Gather
Nature Communications 2018 vol.9 
Lasing in live mitotic and non-phagocytic cells by efficient delivery of microresonators Marcel Schubert, Klara Volckaert, Andrew Morton, Gareth Brian Miles, Simon John Powis, Malte Christian Gather
Scientific Reports 2017 vol.7 
Long-term imaging of cellular forces with high precision by elastic resonator interference stress microscopy Nils Michael Kronenberg, Anja Steude, Johanna A Knipper, Jessica G Borger, Giuliano Scarcelli, Kristian Franze, Simon John Powis, Malte Christian Gather
Nature Cell Biology 2017 vol.19 pp.864-872
Multimodal discrimination of immune cells using a combination of Raman spectroscopy and digital holographic microscopy Mingzhou Chen, Simon John Powis, Kishan Dholakia
Scientific Reports 2017 vol.7 
Polymorphisms in the F pocket of HLA-B27 subtypes strongly affect assembly, chaperone interactions and heavy-chain misfolding David B Guiliano, Helen North, Eleni Panayoitou, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Kirsty McHugh, Marine Silvestre, Paul Bowness, Simon John Powis, Antony N Antoniou
Arthritis & Rheumatology 2017 vol.69 pp.610-621
Skin colour changes during experimentally-induced sickness Julie Lasselin, Mats Lekander, Mats J Olsson, Simon John Powis, John Axelsson, David Ian Perrett
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 2017 vol.60 
The major histocompatibility complex class I immunopeptidome of extracellular vesicles Silvia Anna Synowsky, Sally Lorna Shirran, Antony N. Antoniou, Catherine Helen Botting, Simon John Powis
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2017 vol.292 pp.17084-17092
HLA-B27 Simon John Powis, Robert Colbert
Arthritis & Rheumatology 2016 vol.68 pp.1057-1059
CCCTC-binding factor recruitment to the early region of the human papillomavirus type 18 genome regulates viral oncogene expression Ieisha Pentland, Ian Groves, David C Roberts, Simon John Powis, Nicholas Coleman, Sally Roberts, Joanna Louise Parish
Journal of Virology 2015 vol.89 pp.4770-4785
Development of a graded index microlens based fiber optical trap and its characterization using principal component analysis Jonathan Nylk, M. V. G. Kristensen, Michael Mazilu, Anisha Kubasik-Thayil, C. A. Mitchell, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Simon John Powis, Frank J Gunn-Moore, Kishan Dholakia
Biomedical Optics Express 2015 vol.6 pp.1512-1519
Human urinary exosomes in bladder cancer patients Andrew Clive Riches, Simon John Powis, Peter Mullen, David James Harrison, Christian Hacker, John Milton Lucocq, James Simeon Bowness, Alex Chapman, Ruth Cameron, Liz McLornan, David John Chinn, Steve Leung
Bladder 2015 vol.2 
Lasing within live cells containing intracellular optical micro-resonators for barcode-type cell tagging and tracking Marcel Schubert, Anja Steude, Nils Michael Kronenberg, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Simon John Powis, Malte Christian Gather
Nano Letters 2015 vol.15 pp.5674-5652
The use of Wavelength Modulated Raman Spectroscopy in label-free identification of T lymphocyte subsets, Natural Killer cells and Dendritic cells Mingzhou Chen, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Michael Mazilu, Joao Barbosa, Kishan Dholakia, Simon John Powis
PLoS One 2015 vol.10 
Endoplasmic Reticulum Degradation–Enhancing α-Mannosidase–like Protein 1 targets misfolded HLA–B27 dimers for Endoplasmic Reticulum–Associated Degradation David B Guiliano, Helen Fussell, Izabela Lenart, Edward Tsao, Darren Nesbeth, Adam J Fletcher, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Nasim Yousaf, Sarah Williams, Susana Santos, Amy Cameron, Greg J Towers, Paul Kellam, Daniel N Hebert, Keith Gould, Simon John Powis, Antony N Antoniou
Arthritis & Rheumatology 2014 vol.66 pp.2976-2988
Label-free haemogram using wavelength modulated Raman spectroscopy for identifying immune-cell subset Praveen Cheriyan Ashok, B.B. Praveen, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Kishan Dholakia, Simon John Powis
 2014 vol.8939 
Regulation of exosome release from mammary epithelial and breast cancer cells - a new regulatory pathway Andrew Clive Riches, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Eva Borger, Simon John Powis
European Journal of Cancer 2014 vol.50 pp.1025-34
Monitoring the Rab27 associated exosome pathway using nanoparticle tracking analysis Elaine Catherine Campbell, John Milton Lucocq, Andrew Clive Riches, Simon John Powis
Experimental Cell Research 2013 vol.319 pp.1706-13
HLA-B27 dimers are targeted for degradation by an endoplasmic reticulum stress induced degradation pathway - a potential novel therapeutic target? D. B. Guiliano, H. Fussell, I Lenart, E. Tsao, D. Nesbeth, A. Fletcher, Elaine Catherine Campbell, A. Cameron, P. Kellam, D. N. Hebert, K. Gould, Simon John Powis, A. N. Antoniou
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2012 vol.30 pp.603-603
HLA-B27 misfolding and cellular stress influence the lifecycle of infecting salmonella? A potential mechanism for salmonella survival in reactive arthritis patients? D. B. Guiliano, I Lenart, Rachel Evans, T. Iwawaki, J. Acord, M. Noursadeghi, D. Nesbeth, Elaine Catherine Campbell, K. Gould, Simon John Powis, A. N. Antoniou
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2012 vol.30 pp.637-637
MHC class I dimer formation by alteration of the cellular redox environment and induction of apoptosis Dinara Makhadiyeva, Lorraine Lam, Mohammad Moatari, Jasmine Vallance, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Simon John Powis
Immunology 2012 vol.135 pp.133-139
Nanoparticle tracking analysis monitors microvesicle and exosome secretion from immune cells Chin Y. Soo, Elaine Catherine Campbell, Andrew Clive Riches, Frank J Gunn-Moore, Simon John Powis
Immunology 2012 vol.136 pp.192-197