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(MRC DTP) Understanding how macrophages respond to damage-derived inflammatory signals

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  • Full or part time
    Dr G Lopez-Castejon
    Dr C Francavilla
    Prof P Woodman
    Prof David Brough
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Innate immune recognition of danger signals is an important mechanism that protects against infection, and injury. ATP is released from infected or damaged cells and its extracellular presence alerts macrophages of impending danger. At high levels, extracellular ATP (eATP) binds to the P2X7 receptor, expressed on macrophages, triggering a potent pro-inflammatory immune response. This mechanism has been shown to be crucial in our defence against pathogens, but also plays a role in inflammatory diseases. Little is known about how P2X7R relays information from ATP binding, yet there is increasing evidence that kinase signalling plays an important downstream role, suggesting that the posttranslational modifications might be key in this process.

This project aims at identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying the response of macrophages to extracellular ATP during inflammation. Together, this will provide, for the first time, a comprehensive overview of the signalling triggered by the danger signal eATP in macrophages, providing avenues of potential new therapeutics in a wide-range of inflammatory diseases.

We are looking for enthusiastic and motivated candidates with a strong interest in cell biology and the use of molecular approaches to study disease-relevant questions. This project includes training in a wide array of interdisciplinary techniques ranging from mass spectrometry, microscopy to antibody-based techniques such as immunofluorescence, western blotting and flow cytometry as well as gene editing by CRSPR/Cas9. The candidate will use a combination of macrophage cell lines and human primary monocytes/macrophages (from blood and lung) for this project. You will benefit from a stimulating environment and the cutting edge facilities at the faculty of Biology Medicine and Health and the world-leading Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation. As a PhD student you will be encouraged to present your research at internal meetings as well as attending international conferences. Please email us if you are interested and would like to know more about the project.

Entry Requirements:
Applications are invited from UK/EU nationals only. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Funding Notes

This project is to be funded under the MRC Doctoral Training Partnership. If you are interested in this project, please make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. You MUST also submit an online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the MRC DTP website

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

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