Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative organism of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and remains a major public health concern. The immune response in SARS-CoV-2 infection is critical to disease outcome and early indications are that the early and maintained inflammatory milieu is associated with disease ranging from asymptomatic to severe. Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, the population of Scotland is in the midst of a type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) epidemic and the impact of COVID-19 on T2DM sufferers is unclear. Findings from univariate and multivariate analyses suggest that individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have increased risk of more severe outcomes with COVID-19, and increased mortality has subsequently been reported. The mechanisms underlying a protective versus dysregulated immune response in COVID-19 / T2DM remain unclear, as do the long term implications. It is clear the immune response determines disease trajectory in the absence of T2DM and the potential exists to target inflammatory modulators early to enhance tissue repair and promote disease tolerance, ultimately improving patient outcomes.
This PhD studentship will characterise the adaptive immune response to COVID-19 in T2DM by assessing serum cytokine and antibody profiles in addition to measuring cellular and molecular responses to the SARS-CoV-2 using in vitro models of disease. The project will utilise a range of immunological techniques to identify key inflammatory mediators and cell phenotypes. The findings of this project will be used to inform diagnostics and immunological interventions in T2DM/COVID-19 sufferers and prevention of associated long term morbidity. The findings of this project will inform public health strategies for infection prevention and control.
Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This project addresses the goal of Healthy Lives and is part of the research activity of the Research Group – Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention: https://www.gcu.ac.uk/hls/research/researchgroups/infectionprevention/
The successful applicant will hold a first or upper second class honours degree within biological sciences, or a masters degree within biological sciences, with previous laboratory research experience desirable. Candidates are requested to submit a detailed research proposal (maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application.
Applicants should apply for their preferred intake date using the Biological Sciences links via the Application Process page