Professor Adrian Liston

Subject: Natural Sciences
Professor Liston has worked extensively in the cellular control over immune/tolerance switches, and how molecular defects in these switches can lead to pathologies ranging from autoimmunity and primary immunology to diabetes and neuropathology. By researching a broad range of pathologies, and using both patient samples and animal models, his research is able to identifying the common cellular pathways to pathology.
Professorial Fellow
Professor of Pathology

Professor Liston is Professor of Pathology at the University of Cambridge's Department of Pathology. He trained at Adelaide University before a PhD at the Australian National University, and a post-doc at the University of Washington, with additional degrees in Higher Education and Public Health. He started his career as an independent researcher at the VIB and University of Leuven in Belgium, where he ran a lab with Dr James Dooley for 10 years (2009–18) before moving the lab to the Babraham Institute in 2019. Between 2019 and 2023, the Liston-Dooley lab worked on biotechnology developments in neuroinflammation, developing new therapeutic approaches and setting up a spin-off company Aila Biotech Ltd. In 2023, the Liston-Dooley laboratory relocated to the Department of Pathology, where he took up the position of Professor of Pathology.

Beyond his research interests, Professor Liston works on improving equality of opportunity within the scientific career structure. He writes extensively about science careers: how early career scientists can navigate the academic career pathway and succeed in starting their own lab, and what should be done to make scientific careers more equitable. He openly discusses his experiences as a scientist-parent, and works extensively on communicating science to children, with the online game VirusFighter and the illustrated children’s books “All about Coronavirus”, “Battle Robots of the Blood” and “Maya’s Marvellous Medicine”.

Professor Liston is also Editor-in-Chief of Immunology & Cell Biology and Honorary Group Leader at the Babraham Institute.

Yshii^, Pasciuto^, Bielefeld^… Holt* and Liston*. ‘Astrocyte-targeted gene delivery of interleukin 2 specifically increases brain-resident regulatory T cell numbers and protects against pathological neuroinflammation’. Nature Immunology. 2022. 23(6):878.

Pasciuto^, Burton^, Roca^… and Liston. ‘Microglia require CD4 T cells to complete the fetal to adult transition’. 2020. Cell. 182(3) p625.

Carr^, Dooley^… Linterman* and Liston*. ‘The cellular composition of the human immune system is shaped by age and cohabitation’. Nature Immunology. 2016. 17(4) p461.

Dooley^, Tian^, Schonefeldt^… and Liston. ‘Genetic predisposition for beta cell fragility underlies type 1 and type 2 diabetes’. Nature Genetics. 2016. 48(5) p519.

Pierson… Gray* and Liston*. ‘Anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 is critical for the survival and niche-filling capacity of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells.’ 2013. Nature Immunology. 14(9) p959.

Papadopoulou^, Dooley^… and Liston. 'The thymic epithelial microRNA network elevates the threshold for infection-associated thymic involution via miR-29a mediated suppression of the IFN-α receptor.' 2012. Nature Immunology. 13 p181.

Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Francqui Foundation Chair 2016, Eppendorf Awardee for Young European Investigators 2016, Dr Karel-Lodewijk Prize