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Inflammatory lymphocytes in human chronic kidney disease.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Andrew Kassianos
    Prof Ray Wilkinson
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

BACKGROUND: Kidney disease is the most common chronic disease in Australia today and is increasing exponentially. Lymphocytes are well described inflammatory cells in immunologic renal diseases, including lupus nephritis, IgA nephropathy, other patterns of glomerulonephritis (GN) and graft rejection. Additionally, they constitute a major mononuclear component of chronic interstitial inflammation associated with non-immunological renal diseases. However, our knowledge of lymphocytes (T, B, NK, NK-T cells) in human renal disease, in particular, lymphocyte sub-populations, numbers and activation state, is still limited.

HYPOTHESIS: Distinct lymphocyte sub-populations infiltrate the kidney to drive chronic kidney disease in humans.

AIM: To test this hypothesis, we will characterise lymphocyte populations (subsets, counts, phenotype and localisation) in healthy versus diseased human kidney tissue.

APPROACH: Biopsies from diseased kidneys and control healthy portions of nephrectomies will be examined either by tissue staining (immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescent) or dissociated into single cell suspensions and analysed by fifteen-colour flow cytometry.

SCHOLARSHIP DETAILS: This scholarship is open to Australian citizens and international applicants. Candidates should possess an Honours or Masters degree in a relevant discipline of biomedical science. The successful candidate should have a strong background in immunology, preferably with some previous experience in flow cytometry, molecular biology and cell culture. Publication output in peer reviewed international journals is highly desirable

The successful appointee will be based at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute/Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia and will work on clinical samples in collaboration with local clinical scientists.

All applicants must supply the following documents: Cover letter, Resume (including referees) and complete academic records (including GPA scores/grades, and grading scale details).

Funding Notes

The PhD Scholarship is funded by Pathology Queensland/Queensland Health to provide financial support to an exceptional student with a keen interest in immunology and human kidney disease. The scholarship will consist of $25,850 tax-free per annum for 3 years, with a possible extension to 3.5 years in approved circumstances.


Kassianos A, Wang X, Sampangi S, Afrin S, Wilkinson R, Healy H. (2015). Fractalkine-CX3CR1-dependent recruitment and retention of human CD1c+ myeloid dendritic cells by in vitro activated proximal tubular epithelial cells. Kidney International. Accepted.

Kassianos A, Wang X, Sampangi S, Muczynski K, Healy H, Wilkinson R. (2013). Increased tubulointerstitial recruitment of human CD141hi CLEC9A+ and CD1c+ myeloid dendritic cell subsets in renal fibrosis and chronic kidney disease. American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology. 305(10): F1391-F1401.

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