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Dr Francesco Colucci

Dr Francesco Colucci


Senior lecturer

Francesco Colucci is accepting applications for PhD students.

Francesco Colucci is available for consultancy.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology :
University Reader

Research Interests

Natural killer cells meet invasive cells: what consequences on cancer and reproduction?

Our lab studies the complex interactions between NK cell receptors and molecules expressed on invasive cells, including cancerous cells but also fetal placental cells that invade into the womb.

We are interested in:

  • Immune cells at the fetal-maternal interface
  • Control of tumor growth by immunity
  • Cell transplantation

Group members


cytotoxicity ; development ; NK ; natural killer receptors ; cell culture ; cell development ; pregnancy ; natural killer cells ; fluorescence microscopy ; lymphocytes, ; differentiation ; FACS ; lymphocyte activation


  • reproductive immunology
  • cancer

Key Publications

Moffett A, Colucci F. (2015). Co-evolution of NK receptors and HLA ligands in humans is driven by reproduction.Immunol Rev. Sep;267(1):283-97.

Colucci F, Moffett A, and Trowsdale J (2014). Medawar and the immunological paradox of pregnancy: 60 years on. Eur J. Immunol. 44(7): 1883-1885

Jens Kieckbusch, Louise M. Gaynor, Ashley Moffett & Francesco Colucci MHC-dependent inhibition of uterine NK cells impedes fetal growth and decidual vascular remodelling Nature Communications 2014 5:3359.

Xiong S, Sharkey AM, Kennedy PR, Gardner L, Farrell LE, Chazara O, Bauer J, Hiby SE, Colucci F, Moffett A.Maternal uterine NK cell-activating receptor KIR2DS1 enhances placentation. J Clin Invest. 2013 Oct 1;123(10):4264-72. 

Ormiston ML, Chang C, Long LL, Soon E, Jones D, Machado R, Treacy C, Toshner MR, Campbell K, Riding A, Southwood M, Pepke-Zaba J, Exley A, Trembath RC, Colucci F, Wills M, Trowsdale J, Morrell NW.Impaired natural killer cell phenotype and function in idiopathic and heritable pulmonary arterial hypertension. Circulation. 2012 Aug 28;126(9):1099-109

Colucci F, Boulenouar S, Kieckbusch J, Moffett A. How does variability of immune system genes affect placentation?   Placenta (2011); Aug;32(8):539-45.
Madeja M , Yadi H , Richard Apps R, Boulenouar S, Roper S, Gardner L, Moffett M, Colucci F* , Hemberger M* Paternal MHC expression on mouse trophoblast affects uterine vascularization and fetal growth PNAS 2011 Mar 8;108(10):4012-7. *these authors contributed equally

Li P, Burke S, Wang J, Chen X, Ortiz M, Lee S, Lu D, Campos L, Goulding D, Ling Ng B, Dougan G, Huntly B, Gottgens B, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Colucci F, Liu P Reprogramming of T Cells to Natural Killer–Like Cells upon Bcl11b Deletion Science 2010 Jul 2;329(5987):85-9.
Colucci F, Cilio CM Taming killer cells may halt diabetes progression Nat Immunol 2010; 11:111-2

Lakshmikanth T, Burke S, Ali TH, Kimpfler S, Ursini F, Ruggeri L, Capanni M, Umansky V, Paschen A, Sucker A, Pende D, Groh V, Biassoni R, Höglund P, Kato M, Shibuya K, Schadendorf D, Anichini A, Ferrone S, Velardi A, Kärre K, Shibuya A, Carbone E, Colucci F NCRs and DNAM-1 mediate NK cell recognition and lysis of human and mouse melanoma cell lines in vitro and in vivo J Clin Invest 2009 119:1251-63

Saudemont A, Garçon F, Yadi H, Roche-Molina M, Segonds-Pichon A, Martín-Fontecha A, Okkenhaug K, Colucci F The p110gamma and p110delta isoforms of phosphoinositide 3-kinase differentially regulate natural killer cell migration in health and disease PNAS 2009 106:5795-800

Other Publications

Complete list of publications is found at :



Uterine NK cells are the most abundant leukocytes at the maternal-fetal interface (left). NK cells are spontaneously cytotoxic to tumour and virally infected cells (right).