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Professor Neil Barclay

Academic Profile

I studied biochemistry at Oxford University completing a D.Phil in 1976 in the MRC Immunochemistry Unit in the Biochemistry department under the supervision of Alan Williams. I then shifted to neurobiology for 2 years in Sweden before moving back to Oxford as a MRC research scientist to join Alan Williams again who had been recently appointed to the directorship of the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. In 2011, I left the MRC post but still remained doing research in the Dunn School but as the EP Abraham Professorship of Chemical Pathology and became a fellow of Lincoln College. I retired from this post in 2015 and closed my research laboratory.  I am currently chairman of the EPA Cephalosporin Trust, the treasurer of the CIU trust and trustee along with the Rector and Stephen Gill, of the Zilka fund that provides assistance for travel for fellows of Lincoln College.

Research Interests

My research has been centred on understanding the proteins at the surface of white blood cells. The approach is biochemical including structural analysis of the membrane proteins and their interactions. These proteins are important in controlling the immune system and ensuring that there is an optimal response in the right place and that the response is switched off when the pathogen has been removed. These proteins have less than exciting names such as CD200, CD200 receptor, CD47, and SIRP. However they are becoming more topical because these interactions can be manipulated with so called ‘checkpoint inhibitors’ where other interactions have been already been shown to be effective in the fast developing cancer immunotherapy field.

I am also keen on getting good reagents and making them available for researchers. I co-founded Everest Biotech in 1999 and was chairman until 2019. This company produces antibody reagents for the research community with the unusual feature that the production is centred in Kathmandu, Nepal. In 2012 I co-founded another reagent company called Absolute Antibody that aimed to apply the technology developed for therapeutic antibodies to make high quality reagents – recombinant antibodies - for academic research and for the pharmaceutical industry. I am chairman of this company.


Further details and publications are given on the Dunn School website (see above, right) and a selection is given below.

1.  Barclay AN, Van den Berg TK. The interaction between signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPalpha) and CD47: structure, function, and therapeutic target. Annu Rev Immunol. 2014;32:25-50.

2. Hatherley D, Lea SM, Johnson S, Barclay AN. Structures of CD200/CD200 receptor family and implications for topology, regulation, and evolution. Structure. 2013;21(5):820-32.

3. Metcalfe C, Cresswell P, Barclay AN. Interleukin-2 signalling is modulated by a labile disulfide bond in the CD132 chain of its receptor. Open Biology. 2012;2(1):110036-.

4.Hatherley D, Graham SC, Turner J, Harlos K, Stuart DI, Barclay AN. Paired receptor specificity explained by structures of signal regulatory proteins alone and complexed with CD47. Mol Cell. 2008;31(2):266-77.

5. Wright GJ, Puklavec MJ, Willis AC, Hoek RM, Sedgwick JD, Brown MH, et al. Lymphoid/neuronal cell surface OX2 glycoprotein recognizes a novel receptor on macrophages implicated in the control of their function. Immunity. 2000;13(2):233-42.

6. Vernon-Wilson EF, Kee WJ, Willis AC, Barclay AN, Simmons DL, Brown MH. CD47 is a ligand for rat macrophage membrane signal regulatory protein SIRP (OX41) and human SIRPalpha 1. Eur J Immunol. 2000;30(8):2130-7.

7. Hoek RM, Ruuls SR, Murphy CA, Wright GJ, Goddard R, Zurawski SM, et al. Down-regulation of the macrophage lineage through interaction with OX2 (CD200). Science. 2000;290(5497):1768-71.

8.Barclay AN, Brown MH, Law SKA, McKnight AJ, Tomlinson MG, van der Merwe PA. Leucocyte Antigens Factsbook - second edition. London: Academic Press; 1997. 613 p.

9. Mallett S, Fossum S, Barclay AN. Characterization of the MRC OX40 antigen of activated CD4 positive T lymphocytes--a molecule related to nerve growth factor receptor. Embo J. 1990;9(4):1063-8.

10. Williams AF, Barclay AN. The immunoglobulin superfamily--domains for cell surface recognition. Annu Rev Immunol. 1988;6:381-405.

11. Tse AG, Barclay AN, Watts A, Williams AF. A glycophospholipid tail at the carboxyl terminus of the Thy-1 glycoprotein of neurons and thymocytes. Science. 1985;230(4729):1003-8.

12. Barclay AN, Letarte-Muirhead M, Williams AF, Faulkes RA. Chemical characterisation of the Thy-1 glycoproteins from the membranes of rat thymocytes and brain. Nature. 1976;263(5578):563-7.

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