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Autoimmunity against TNF and its role in inflammatory diseases

Project Description

Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine. It regulates a complex signalling network able to trigger cell survival, as well as cell death via apoptosis or necrosis/necroptosis. Dysregulation of these processes is a hallmark of a myriad of disorders, including most prominently inflammatory diseases and tumour.

In a previous study, we found that autoimmunity against TNF converts TNF-related apoptosis on target cells into necrosis, turning a minimum inflammatory cell death event (apoptosis) into a strong inflammatory pathogenesis (necrosis). This might have significance in inflammatory diseases such as sepsis.

A DPhil student is required to carry out the project to explore the mechanism of TNF autoimmunity related inflammation and its clinical applications.

The DPhil student will look into the mechanism of inflammation from two angles: 1) TNF related cell signalling and 2) the immune responses to TNF. Therefore, he/she will be trained to utilize cell biological methods (Confocal, flowcytometry) as well as immunological methods (antibody and T cell assays) throughout the project

Lu, W., Wang, Y., Zhang, Q., Owen, S., Green, M., Ni, T., . . . Jiang, S. (2019). TNF-derived peptides inhibit tumour growth and metastasis through cytolytic effects on tumour lymphatics.. Clinical and experimental immunology. doi:10.1111/cei.13340

Lu, W., Chen, Q., Ying, S., Xia, X., Yu, Z., Lui, Y., . . . Jiang, S. (2016). Evolutionarily conserved primary TNF sequences relate to its primitive functions in cell death induction. Journal of Cell Science, 129(1), 108-120. doi:10.1242/jcs.175463

Funding Notes

All complete applications received by 12 noon (UK time) on Friday 11 January 2020 will automatically be considered for all relevant competitive University and funding opportunities, including the Clarendon Fund, Medical Research Council funding, and various College funds. Please refer to the Funding and Costs webpage (View Website) for this course for further details relating to funded scholarships and divisional funding opportunities.

Funded studentships are highly competitive and are awarded to the highest ranked applicant(s) based on the advertised entry requirements for each programme of study.


Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Academic references are strongly encouraged, though you may use up to one professional reference provided that it is relevant to the course.

How good is research at University of Oxford in Clinical Medicine?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 238.51

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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