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Aiming to transform the clinical treatment of neuroinflammatory conditions for the improvement of patients globally.


Aila Biotech harnesses a patented gene delivery technology to drive the production of immune-regulating biologics at the site of disease.


Through the use of a delivery system allowing exquisite spatial and temporal control over biologic expression, Aila Biotech can

prevent neuroinflammatory damage and pathology progression.

Our technology

controlling biologic delivery


Dr James Dooley is CEO and co-founder of Aila Biotech. Dr Dooley worked in emergency clinical care prior to starting in medical research at the University of Washington, USA. Dr Dooley specialised in the T cell and regulatory T cell development and function. Dr Dooley later specialised in respiratory immunology at the University of Alberta, Canada. Together with Prof Adrian Liston, Dr Dooley ran the Translational Immunology at the VIB and University of Leuven, Belgium, until moving the laboratory to Cambridge.

Dr Dooley is a specialist in immunopathology, neuroimmunology, respiratory immunology and diabetes. Among his key achievements are the development of a clinical immune profiling platform (Carr et al, Nature Immunology 2016), the identification of a shared molecular pathway linking pancreatic beta cell resilience to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (Dooley et al, Nature Genetics 2016) and the development of a gene delivery technology to avert diabetes (Singh et al, Biomolecules 2022). Dr Dooley is currently CEO of Aila Biotech and Principle Research Associate at the University of Cambridge.

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Dr James Dooley PhD, CEO 

Prof Adrian Liston is CSO and founder of Aila Biotech. Prof Liston received his BSc(Hons) in biomedical sciences from Adelaide University, followed by a PhD in immunogenetics at the Australian National University studying T cell tolerance. After his doctoral studies, Prof Liston worked on regulatory T cell biology at the University of Washington, prior to starting up his independent research program together with Dr James Dooley at the VIB and University of Leuven, in Belgium.


The Liston-Dooley lab research takes a broad perspective in understanding immune regulatory processes, from fundamental to clinical immunology, across homeostasis and disease. Among the key discoveries in the laboratory that led to the formation of Aila Biotech were the identification of the molecular machinery controlling regulatory T cell apoptosis (Pierson et al, 2013 Nature Immunology), the identification of regulatory T cells in the healthy mouse and human brain (Pasciuto et al, Cell 2020), and harnessing this population to treat neuroinflammation (Yshii et al, Nature Immunology 2022). Prof Liston is currently CSO of Aila Biotech, Professor of Pathology at the University of Cambridge, Professorial Fellow at St Catharine's College, and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. 

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Prof Adrian Liston 
BSc(Hons) GCertHE MPH PhD FMedSci FRSB,

Dr Ed Needham will enter Aila Biotech as Medical Director. Dr Needham is an MD PhD specialised in neuroimmunology and neurocritical care. Dr Needham is a consultant in Neurology and Neurocritical Care at Addenbrookes Hospital, and the Clinical Lead for Neuroimmunology. In addition to his clinical duties treating patients with traumatic brain injuries, Dr Needham has led research into the role of the adaptive immune system in neurotrauma (Needham et al, 2021 Journal of Immunology) and the neurological features of COVID (Needham et al, 2020 Journal of Neurology). Dr Needham is experienced in the design and implementation of clinical trials in the neurotrauma space. 

Dr. Matthew Holt is Co-Founder of Aila Biotech. Dr. Holt received his B.Sc. (Hons) in Applied Biochemistry from the University of Liverpool, followed by doctoral studies on the physiology of synaptic vesicle supply and neurotransmission at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. After his Ph.D., Dr. Holt worked on aspects of synaptic vesicle structure and function at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany.

Dr. Holt is now the ERANET Chair for Neurobiology in Portugal, based at the Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (i3S) in Porto, where he runs the Synapse Biology group, investigating aspects of astrocyte-neuron interactions at inhibitory synapses. He is also head of the NCBio Biotechnology hub for northern Portugal. A major translational spin-off from his work has been the design and exploitation of novel blood-brain barrier crossing viral vector systems for gene delivery, which allow sustained local production and secretion of therapeutics from CNS cells – the so-called ‘biopharmacy’ concept (Marino et al., EMBO Mol Med, 2022).

Dr Edward Needham 
Medical Director
Dr Matthew Holt 
BSc(Hons) PhD,
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