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Klaus Okkenhaug


Cambridge University, UK

Professor Klaus Okkenhaug is Head of the Division of Immunology at the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge. He obtained his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Victoria, Canada, followed by a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Toronto, where he studied CD28 signalling in Rob Rottapel’s lab. In 1999, he moved to London, UK, where he joined Bart Vanhaesebroeck’s group at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research as a Postdoctoral Fellow, working on the role of the PI3Kδ in immune responses. There he generated the PI3Kδ kinase-dead knock-in mouse, which showed a key role for this PI3K isoform in B cell and T cells, as well as in preventing colitis due to the role of PI3Kδ in regulatory T cells. Klaus joined the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development at the Babraham Institute as a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow and Group Leader in 2003. In 2011 he was among the first cohort to be awarded a Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award. In 2017 he was appointed as the Professor of Immunology at the University of Cambridge.

In recent years, he has contributed to the description of a new primary immunodeficiency syndrome caused by activated PI3Kδ mutations (APDS). His group has also demonstrated that PI3Kδ activity in regulatory T cells can be inhibited to unleash a potent anti-tumour response. He has published more than 100 articles and reviews in leading peer-reviewed journals and is an internationally leading authority on the role of PI3Ks in immunity, infection and cancer.


  • Activated PI3Kδ syndrome, an immunodeficiency disorder, leads to sensorimotor deficits recapitulated in a murine model
    Serra I, Manusama OR, Kaiser FMP, Floriano II, Wahl L, van der Zalm C, Ijspeert H. van Hagen PM,  van Beveren NJM, Arend SM, Okkenhaugg K, Pel JJM, Dalm VASH, Badura A Brain Behav Immun Health. 2021 Oct 19;18:100377. 
  • PI3K inhibitors are finally coming of age
    Vanhaesebroeck B, Perry MWD, Brown JR, André F, Okkenhaug K. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2021. 14.
  • PI3Kδ and primary immunodeficiencies
    Lucas CL, Chandra A, Nejentsev S, Condliffe AM, Okkenhaug K. Nat Rev Immunol. 2016. 16(11):702-714.  Epub 2016 Sep 12. Review.
  • Targeting PI3K in Cancer: Impact on Tumor Cells, Their Protective Stroma, Angiogenesis, and Immunotherapy
    Okkenhaug K, Graupera M, Vanhaesebroeck B. Cancer Discov. 2016. 6(10):1090-1105. 
  • PI3K inhibitors in inflammation, autoimmunity and cancer
    Stark AK, Sriskantharajah S, Hessel EM, Okkenhaug K. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2015. 23:82-91. 
  • Inactivation of PI(3)K p110δ breaks regulatory T-cell-mediated immune tolerance to cancer
    Ali K, Soond DR, Piñeiro R, Hagemann T, Pearce W, Lim EL, Bouabe H, Scudamore CL, Hancox T, Maecker H, Friedman L, Turner M, Okkenhaug K, Vanhaesebroeck B. Nature. 2014 Jun 19;509(7505):407-11.
  • Phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ gene mutation predisposes to respiratory infection and airway damage
    Ivan Angulo, Oscar Vadas, Fabien Garçon, Edward Banham-Hall, Vincent Plagnol, Timothy R Leahy, Helen Baxendale, Tanya Coulter, James Curtis, Changxin Wu, Katherine Blake-Palmer, Olga Perisic, Deborah Smyth, Mailis Maes, Christine Fiddler, Jatinder Juss, Deirdre Cilliers, Gašper Markelj, Anita Chandra, George Farmer, Anna Kielkowska, Jonathan Clark, Sven Kracker, Marianne Debré, Capucine Picard, Isabelle Pellier, Nada Jabado, James A Morris, Gabriela Barcenas-Morales, Alain Fischer, Len Stephens, Phillip Hawkins, Jeffrey C Barrett, Mario Abinun, Menna Clatworthy, Anne Durandy, Rainer Doffinger, Edwin R Chilvers, Andrew J Cant, Dinakantha Kumararatne, Klaus Okkenhaug, Roger L Williams, Alison Condliffe, Sergey Nejentsev Science. 2013 Nov 15;342(6160):866-71.
  • Signaling by the phosphoinositide 3-kinase family in immune cells
    Okkenhaug K Annu Rev Immunol. 2013;31:675-704. 
  • The p110beta isoform of phosphoinositide 3-kinase signals downstream of G protein-coupled receptors and is functionally redundant with p110gamma
    Guillermet-Guibert J, Bjorklof K, Salpekar A, Gonella C, Ramadani F, Bilancio A, Meek S, Smith AJ, Okkenhaug K, Vanhaesebroeck B. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jun 17;105(24):8292-7.