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Dr Simon Hunt, FHEA

Emeritus Fellow, formerly Tutor in Immunology

Retired University Lecturer in Immunology


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Research Interests

The B lymphocyte is my favourite cell type because its natural variation and selection constitute a microcosm of Darwinian evolution within the human body.  Other white blood cells intrigue me too. They inhabit the blood and all the very widely scattered lymphoid tissues. B cells perpetually patrol the body seeking occasions to be provoked into cell replication and maturation. Normally dormant, a single B cell when suitably stimulated can very rapidly divide to form dozens or hundreds of mature antibody-forming cells. This takes a few days.
I'm interested in the first few minutes of this transition, when the earliest signals cross the lymphocyte's outer membrane and send messages to the nucleus to activate particular genes. Calcium ions form an important part of this signalling cascade. Under resting conditions calcium cannot pass through the membrane, but on receipt of the right signal they fleetingly flood across. By a fluorescence-based technique the resulting fluctuations in intracellular calcium in individual fresh lymphocytes can be measured, hundreds at once. Some of them wink like lighthouses. I research ways to classify their winking habits using a novel research instrument we've devised, developed and patented, the Cell Population Array Imager.  We characterise populations of lymphocytes according to their calcium patterns, some very persistent, others oscillatory, others just fly-by-nights. This work is in collaboration with Prof Stephen Payne, Engineering Fellow at Keble, Dr Steve Young at Birmingham University and with Prof Wilf Jefferies at the University of British Columbia.  Licence enquiries for the patent are welcome.

Teaching and teaching-related occupations

I have tutored all three undergraduate years, in the areas of molecular and cell biology, general pathology and immunology.  I continue to teach 2nd years.  I contributed two chapters to the 3rd edition of a standard immunology textbook, Janeway and Travers' "Immunobiology" and I have published reviews of a number of other student textbooks.  I studied for the Diploma in Learning and teaching in Higher Education at the University's Learning Institute and was awarded a Distinction for my portfolio "Teaching critical appraisal of primary biomedical scientific literature".

I helped to teach a five-day workshop in August 2014 at the First International Summer Institute of Learning and Teaching for Bioscience Researchers, organised by the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

I received awards for teaching from the University Medical Sciences Division (Excellence in Teaching, 2012; Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015).

Recent Publications

Academic Biography

  • Junior pro-Proctor, Oxford University (2015 - 2016)
  • Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher education; Learning Institute, Oxford University (2012 - 2013)
  • Senior Dean, Keble College (2008 - 2012)
  • Chair, Audit Subcommittee of Education Committee, Medical Sciences Division (2008 - 2012)
  • Visiting Fellow, Biomedical Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1998)
  • Fellow and Tutor in Immunology, Keble College in charge of Medicine and Physiological Sciences University Lecturer in Immunology (1988 - 2012)
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Travelling Fellow of the American Cancer Society. Dept of Pathology, Stanford University (1981 - 1982)
  • Senior Research Fellow in Immunology, Keble College; University Lecturer in Immunology (1974 - 1988)
  • Junior Research Fellow, Merton College Oxford (1971 - 1974)
  • Senior Scholar, St Cross College Oxford (1969 - 1971)
  • Voluntary Service Overseas, Science Teacher, Antigua (1967 - 1968)
  • Open Scholar in Biochemistry, Trinity College Oxford (1963 - 1967)

College Contact Details

Dr Simon Hunt, FHEA
Keble College
Telephone: (+44/0) 1865 275575
Fax: 01865 272705

Faculty/Dept. Information

Dunn School of Pathology
South Parks Road