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Characterizing the aging human immune system (Ref: SF20/APP/TODRYK)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

With a growing aging population, clinical and medical science is challenged with a range of age-related diseases, which it is compelled to try to address. These diseases include particular manifestations of infections, neurodegeneration, cancer, autoimmunity and other immunopathologies. At the heart of these diseases is aberrant immunity, in the form of excessive inflammation and immune dysregulation which culminate in inefficiency of both active immunity and immune homeostasis. Chronic stimulation of the adaptive immune response (T and B cells) by persistent infections including cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus, and a resulting systemic (often low-grade) inflammatory response, gives rise to populations of cells that function incorrectly (being terminally-differentiated and/or senescent) and are less easily switched off when no longer required. Being able to identify such cell populations in aging individuals at risk of such diseases would allow treatments to be better designed, targeted and tailored. These treatments include vaccination, immunotherapies (such as for cancer), and homeostatic cytokines. This project will examine human T and B cells, and their responses to a panel of key antigens, across a wide range of ages. The antigens include those from viruses, bacteria, fungi, and tumours, as well autoantigens. The methods to be undertaken include: 1.ELIspot assays to enumerate cells responding by cytokine secretion (gamma-interferon, IL-17, IL-5) at the single cell level, to antigenic stimuli, 2.multiparameter flow cytometry for surface and intracellular markers of phenotype and activation, 3.ELISA to measure antibody levels .The study will be highly collaborative, involving clinicians and scientists across Newcastle. An extensive training package is provided, together with specialist supervisory support, in a great research environment.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed and the reasons you consider yourself suited to the project. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July for October start, or 1st December for March start
Start Date: October or March

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Please direct enquiries to Prof Stephen Todryk ()

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at View Website . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs.

References

Hasan S, Jozwik A, Heaps A, Kakkar R, Donnelly I, Cookson S, Bourke S, McSharry C, Todryk S. Antibody and T cell responses against avian and microbial antigens associate with hypersensitivity pneumonitis disease parameters in pigeon breeders. Allergy in press.

Jaat FG, Hasan SF, Perry A, Cookson S, Murali S, Perry JD, Lanyon CV, De Soyza A, Todryk SM. Anti-bacterial antibody and T cell responses in bronchiectasis are differentially associated with lung colonization and disease. Respir Res. 2018;19:106.

Walker KM, Okitsu S, Porter DW, Duncan C, Amacker M, Pluschke G, Cavanagh DR, Hill AV, Todryk SM. Antibody and T-cell responses associated with experimental human malaria infection or vaccination show limited relationships. Immunology. 2015;145:71-81.

Hoffmann J, Shmeleva EV, Boag SE, Fiser K, Bagnall A, Murali S, Dimmick I, Pircher H, Martin-Ruiz C, Egred M, Keavney B, von Zglinicki T, Das R, Todryk S, Spyridopoulos I. Myocardial ischemia and reperfusion leads to transient CD8 immune deficiency and accelerated immunosenescence in CMV-seropositive patients. Circ Res. 2015;116:87-98.

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