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Professor Rachel Allen

Professor of Practice - Research Capacity Building
Director of the Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education

Professor Rachel Allen's research focuses on MHC class I proteins and the regulation of immune activity by innate immune receptors. Her education portfolio is centred on postgraduate education and research capacity building for researchers, non-researchers and academics in training.

Professor Allen is the Director of the Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education for the University and Capacity Building Lead for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South London.

Professor Allen joined St George’s in 2007 to specialise in the field of innate immune receptors and their ability to amplify or inhibit immune activity in disease. Prior to this, she obtained her D.Phil in Immunology from the University of Oxford, studying HLA B27 – a protein which predisposes some people to inflammatory arthritis. This work led to a post-doctoral position in Cambridge University, where she was subsequently awarded a Beit Memorial Fellowship to study the recognition of HLA B27 by innate immune receptors.

Professor Allen is a member of the MS Society Research Strategy Committee, The MRC London Intercollegiate Doctoral Training Partnership Board and the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership Stakeholder Group.

Scholarship Activities

Professor Allen is a member of a number of committees, including Executive Board, Research Committee, Education & Student Strategy Committee, Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee, REF steering executive.

Professor Allen has a long-standing research interest in the disease associations of MHC class I proteins. These are highly variable components of the immune system. The presence of different MHC-I variants is known to correlate with varying disease outcomes in autoimmunity and following infection, particularly with HIV. Her main research focus is on innate immune receptors and how these proteins might influence disease outcomes. 


 NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South London - Capacity Building Lead

 Genoscent - investigating the genetic basis of human attractiveness to malaria mosquitoes


  • Graduate School Skills Programme and Common Postgraduate Framework
  • PhD and MRes student supervision
  • MSc Genomic Medicine (Host immune susceptibility)



  • Chair of the Undergraduate Medical and Biomedical Education Committee
  • BSc Biomedical Sciences Year 2 (Module:Clinical Pathology Specialities - Immunology), BSc Biomedical Sciences Year 3 (Module: Infection and Immunity)
  • Special study project supervision
  • Personal tutor for BSc Biomedical Sciences and Graduate-entry MBBS Medicine
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