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Department of Pathology





McGovern research image

Macrophages and dendritic cells play a key role in mediating tissue homeostasis. The laboratory researches the distinct properties of human macrophages and dendritic cells in both health and disease.
The focus of the laboratory is to understand the role of macrophages and dendritic cells within fetal membranes such as the placenta, and within reproductive organs such as the decidua.
Our approach integrates high dimensional techniques including single-cell RNA seq, advanced flow cytometry and confocal microscopy.


Group members:

Lucy Gardner (Lab manager)

Dr. Joseph (Joe) Hutton (Clinical PhD student)

Qian Li, PhD (PDRA)

Holly Anderson (Lab manager)

Nagisa Yoshida, PhD (PDRA)

Emily Konstantinou (MPhil)

Kate Rebenko (Intern)





Key publications: 
  1. Primitive haematopoiesis in the human placenta gives rise to macrophages with epigenetically silenced HLA-DR. Thomas J.R, Appios A, Calderbank E.F, Zhao X, Hamilton R.S, Moffett A, Sharkey A, Laurenti E, McGovern N#. Nature Communications (2023) PMID: 36997537

  2. Subset-defining markers reveal the phenotype and functional properties of human embryonic macrophages, Hofbauer cells. Thomas JR, Appios A, Zhao X, Dutkiewicz R, Donde M, Lee C, Naidu P, Lee C, Cerveira J, Liu B, Ginhoux F, Burton G, Hamilton R.S, Moffett A, Sharkey A, McGovern N#. Journal of Experimental Medicine (2021) PMID: 33075123

  3. Isolation of First-Trimester and Full-Term Human Placental Hofbauer cells. Appios A , JR, McGovern N#. BioProtocol (2021) PMID: 34250210

  4. Human foetal dendritic cells promote prenatal T-cell immune suppression through arginase-2. McGovern N, Shin A, Low G, Low D, Duan K, Yao LJ, Msallam R, Low I, Shadan NB, Sumatoh HR, Soon E, Lum J, Mok E, Hubert S, See P, Kunxiang EH, Lee YH, Janela B, Choolani M, Mattar CNZ, Fan Y, Lim TKH, Chan DKH, Tan KK, Tam JKC, Schuster C, Elbe-Bürger A, Wang XN, Bigley V, Collin M, Haniffa M, Schlitzer A, Poidinger M, Albani S, Larbi A, Newell EW, Chan JKY, Ginhoux F. Nature (2017). PMID:28614294

  5. Unsupervised High-Dimensional Analysis Aligns Dendritic Cells across Tissues and Species. McGovern N*, Guilliams M*, Dutertre CA*, Scott CL*, Sichien D, Chakarov S, Van Gassen S, Chen J, Poidinger M, De Prijck S, Tavernier SJ, Low I, Irac SE, Mattar CN, Sumatoh HR, Low GHL, Chung TJK, Chan DKH, Tan KK, Hon TLK, Fossum E, Bogen B, Choolani M, Chan JKY, Larbi A, Luche H, Henri S, Saeys Y, Newell EW, Lambrecht BN, Malissen B, Ginhoux F. Immunity (2016). PMID:27637149

  6. Human Dermal CD14+ Cells Are a Transient Population of Monocyte-Derived Macrophages. McGovern N*, Schlitzer A*, Gunawan M, Jardine L, Shin A, Poyner E, Green K, Dickinson R, Wang XN, Low D, Best K, Covins S, Milne P, Pagan S, Aljefri K, Windebank M, Miranda-Saavedra D, Larbi A, Wasan PS, Duan K, Poidinger M, Bigley V, Ginhoux F, Collin M, Haniffa M. Immunity (2014). PMID:25200712

  7. IRF4 transcription factor-dependent CD11b+ dendritic cells in human and mouse control mucosal IL-17 cytokine responses. McGovern N*, Schlitzer A*, Teo P, Zelante T, Atarashi K, Low D, Ho AW, See P, Shin A, Wasan PS, Hoeffel G, Malleret B, Heiseke A, Chew S, Jardine L, Purvis HA, Hilkens CM, Tam J, Poidinger M, Stanley ER, Krug AB, Renia L, Sivasankar B, Ng LG, Collin M, Ricciardi-Castagnoli P, Honda K, Haniffa M, Ginhoux F. Immunity (2013). PMID:23706669

Sir Henry Dale Fellow
Division of Immunology
Dr Naomi  McGovern

Contact Details

Department of Pathology & Centre for Trophoblast Research
University of Cambridge
Tennis Court Road
+44 (0)1223330291
Not available for consultancy