Dr María Rocío López-Álvarez

Postdoctoral Scientist, Immunology

Maria’s research focuses on the function of the innate immune system during strangles, primarily on the initial host/pathogen interactions and how this can lead to the initiation and definition of subsequent adaptive immune responses against S. equi.

The innate immune system plays a crucial role in the elimination of pathogens as a first line of defence but it is also essential in shaping the specific adaptive immune response against microbes. Maria’s areas of interest are innate and adaptive immune responses against S. equi, including Toll-like receptors (TLRs), dendritic cells, MHC and T lymphocytes.


PhD (2011), Immunology, University of Murcia (Spain)

Master of Pharmacy (2002) University of Granada (Spain)


Maria started her research career working in the Immunology Service at the University Hospital “Virgen de la Arrixaca” in Murcia (Spain). During this period she studied the impact of HLA-C matching in early liver transplantation outcome and in the evolution of CD8+KIR2D+ T lymphocytes during the first year after transplantation. After obtaining her PhD, she moved to the University of Cambridge and completed a postdoctoral fellowship investigating the variability of LILR receptors. She joined the Immunology Unit at the AHT in January 2015.