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Investigating the Tropism, Immunology and Pathology of African trypanosomiasis

Biomedical and Life Sciences

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Dr L Jackson-Jones , Dr J Worthington , Dr M Urbaniak No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
Lancaster United Kingdom Immunology Neuroscience Parasitology

About the Project

A multi-disciplinary PhD project investigating the link between immune activation and alterations in brain function during Human African trypanosomiasis is available within the division of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Lancaster University. You will join a world leading supervisory team consisting of immunologists Dr Lucy Jackson-Jones and Dr John Worthington and parasitologist Dr Mick Urbaniak. You will be at the forefront of current research into the gut-brain axis.

The extra-cellular parasite Trypanosoma brucei is the cause of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), and survives by evading the innate and acquired immune system. In the initial stage of an infection the parasite resides in the blood, lymph and a variety of other tissues, whilst in the later stage the parasites enter the brain causing severe neurological disturbances. We currently have little understanding of how trypanosomes perturb the immune system or brain function.

Our recent work examining a mouse infection model has replicated perturbed brain function and additionally identified novel parasite localisation (tropism) in the adipose tissue and gut. As intestinal epithelial immune response drives inflammation along the gut-brain axis, these results provide a potential link between infection, immune response and perturbed brain function.

You will develop our understanding of how the immune system responds to parasite infections, and explore the link between immune activation and alterations in brain function. Using an established

in vivo model, you will explore how parasite infection influences the intestinal epithelial immune response and impacts on the activation of fat associated lymphoid clusters, and investigate the mechanisms by which these perturbations can be reduced using both in vivo and in vitro approaches. You will gain broad expertise in trypanosome biology, immunology and flow cytome try.

Applications should be made directly to Dr John Worthington at [Email Address Removed] or Dr Mick Urbaniack at [Email Address Removed] and should include:

1.      CV (max 2 A4 sides), including details of two academic references

2.      A cover letter outlining your qualifications and interest in the studentship (max 2 A4 sides)

Funding Notes

The full-time studentships are tenable up to 3 years full-time (subject to satisfactory progress) and will cover the cost of tuition fees at Home rates. A stipend in line with the UK Research Council rates is payable.

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