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Effect of aging on Leishmania infection: Ex vivo analysis of Leishmania infection of human blood

Project Description

Supervisors; Giulia Getti, Joanna Miest, Susan Shorter

The aim of this research is to clarify the role of ageing on parasites survival and spreading of Leishmania parasites on human peripheral blood derived immune cells.

Our hypothesis is that the success of Leishmania spreading which is known to be linked to the host’s immunological response will change during ageing in the human host.

Methodology and Innovation

The research will use peripheral blood derived monocytes and granulocytes (PBMCG) from human volunteers (divided into two groups, based on age) and genetically modified GFP-expressing parasites (1) to investigate infection. Percentage of infected cells from each population of cells will be detected via flow cytometry. Preliminary data from our laboratory (2) showed that Leishmania infection of sub-population of PBMCG varies over time suggesting that different cell types are involved at different stages of infection. The role of each cell subtypes will be investigated via a novel methodology developed in our lab to study infection spreading (3). The consequence of spreading on cytokine expression will be quantified via qPCR, and characteristics of the spreading mechanism will be detected via confocal and electron microscopy.


Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website at Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be seen at

The final deadline for application is 12 April 2019.

Funding Notes

DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

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