Betting big on Gamma Delta T Cells

Adrian Hayday, FRS, F MedSci

Scientific Founder

Adrian Hayday was trained in biochemistry at Cambridge, and obtained a PhD in molecular virology from London University. He began studying immunology in 1982 at MIT, where he and his colleagues first described the wholly unanticipated T cell receptor gamma chain genes. Since then Professor Hayday has used many parameters to establish that gamma-delta T cells are clearly distinct from conventional T cells. Those parameters include the cells’ responses to different products of a novel gene family expressed at body surfaces, that Professor Hayday and his colleagues identified.  He showed that this unique biology allows gamma-delta T cells to make rapid responses to tissue dysreguation, rather than to specific pathogens, and thereby to monitor tissue integrity. This may explain Professor Hayday’s observation that gamma-delta T cell deficiency is associated with a profound susceptibility to skin carcinogens, findings which were instrumental in promoting his and others’ interest in the cells’ clinical application. In other clinical activities, he directed a team describing the human immune response to vaccination and described the unique properties of human autoantibodies. Additionally, he is the lead-investigator of a Wellcome Trust-supported, multi-centre, high-throughput phenotyping screen identifying novel genetic regulators of the immune system. 

Professor Hayday has authored over 200 papers, of which he is first, last, or corresponding author on over 120, and of which 150 are original research contributions.  He has received many awards, including the William Clyde deVaneMedal, Yale College’s highest honour for scholarship and teaching, an honorary fellowship of King’s College London, and the King’s College Business Award, 2008. He was elected to lead the British Society of Immunology (2005-09) and has organized many scientific meetings including the 2014 Gordon Conference in Immunochemistry and Immunobiology, and the scientific programme for the 2012 European Congress of Immunology. He is an elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and of the Royal Society.

He has formally advised many institutions including Institut Pasteur; the Max Planck Institute; Kyoto University, the Wellcome Trust, and Cancer Research UK, whose science committee he chaired for three years.  He has participated in many aspects of the biotech/pharmaceutical sector, including membership of the MedImmune SAB, and was a co-founder of ImmunoQure AG before co-founding GammaDelta Therapeutics in 2016.

- Senior Group Leader, Francis Crick Institute
- Kay Glendinning Professor of Immunobiology, King’s College London
- co-Lead, Clinical Academic Grouping in Genetics, Rheumatology, Infection, Immunology and Dermatology King’s Health Partners.