Rahul is a Group Leader and University Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge Department of Pathology, and Director of Studies at St Catherine’s College. Rahul studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and Clinical Medicine at King’s College London. Rahul undertook his Ph.D. in Gary Nabel’s laboratory at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a postdoctoral fellowship at Nicholas Restifo’s laboratory at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI). His research has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of immune regulation, tumour immunosuppression, immunological memory and gene regulation. A major contribution of his early research was the discovery of mechanisms underlying differentiation of a powerfully suppressive subset of T cells called regulatory T (Treg) cells. He discovered the critical function of the transcription factor BACH2 in Treg lineage specification (Roychoudhuri et al., Nature 2013; Vahedi et al., Nature 2015), and in suppression of immune responses against solid tumours (Roychoudhuri et al., J Clin Invest 2016). This work led to discovery of a new monogenic disease caused by BACH2 insufficiency (Nat Immunol 2017; reviewed in Nat Rev Immunol 2017).
The group’s work has established molecular mechanisms required for the quiescence and long-term survival of memory CD8+ T cells (Roychoudhuri et al., Nat Immunol, 2016) and Treg cells (Grant, Yang, et al., J Exp Med 2020), and shown that pharmacological AKT inhibition provides a means of expanding memory CD8+ T cells for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer (Cancer Res 2015). Rahul’s work has shown that Treg differentiation in peripheral tissues is sensitive to local oxygen concentrations resulting in permissivity of the lung to cancer metastasis (Clever, Roychoudhuri, et al., Cell 2016). The laboratory has contributed to studies demonstrating that high potassium levels within the interstitial environment of tumours restricts CD8+ T cell activation (Nature 2016; Science 2019). Rahul’s research group is focussed on the biology of two cell types with critical functions in inflammation and tumour immunity: CD4+ T cells, including Treg cells, and cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. In 2015 Rahul was jointly awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust and The Royal Society. In 2017 Rahul was awarded a Lister Institute Research Prize. Rahul is a reviewer for a number of peer-reviewed scientific journals and grant agencies, and serves on the Editorial board of Immunology.