Immune regulation through bi-directional interactions between subsets of Natural Killer cells and Dendritic cells

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Dr Camille​

This project will investigate interactions between two immune cell types: natural killer (NK) cells and dendritic cells (DCs). NK cells play an essential role in the early detection of infections or malignant transformation while DCs initiate and direct immune responses. Evidence for bi-directional interactions between NK cells and DCs has been provided in the early 2000s. Since then, our knowledge of NK cell and DC diversity has considerably increased. NK cells and DCs can no longer be considered as homogenous populations up to 30,000 phenotypic populations identified by mass cytometry in one individual  while four main human DC subsets have been described:  monocyte-derived DCs, plasmacytoid DCs and type 1 and 2 conventional DCs. Currently, we don’t know which NK subset(s) interact with which DC subset(s).

This project aims to provide a better understanding of the crosstalk between distinct NK cell and DC subsets. Specific interactions between human cell subsets in response to different stimuli will be investigated in vitro and in vivo. The candidate will have access to state-of-the-art technology including high-parameter flow cytometry (BD Fortessa and BD FACSymphony analysers) as well as cutting-edge humanised mouse models. By addressing an important knowledge gap in the field, this project will lay the foundation for preclinical research in a wide range of pathologies including cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of cellular culture, flow cytometry and  animal handling would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of cellular and molecular biology and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of immunology is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

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