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(MRC DTP) Understanding immune cell function in stroke

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  • Full or part time
    Prof S Allan
    Dr J Grainger
    Prof C Smith
  • 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

Interactions between the central nervous system (CNS) and immune system are critical to appropriately instruct immune cell function following sterile injury or infection1. Following an acute brain injury such as stroke these neuroimmune interactions are dysregulated resulting in aberrant immune cell function, which has been implicated in secondary infection or poor healing of the damaged brain tissue, resulting in poor clinical outcomes.

The complexities and significance of peripheral immune cellular changes in determining outcome in clinical stroke are still largely unexplored. In particular it is not known whether there are specific immune characteristics induced by different stroke subtypes (acute ischaemic stroke (AIS), aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) and intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH)), how these vary during resolution of stroke and whether manipulating these immune cell changes present therapeutic opportunities. This is particularly important since at present there are very limited treatment options in stroke, therefore anything that might improve patient outcome could have significant impact.

Here we will undertake a comparative study of the peripheral immune response in patients with AIS, aSAH or ICH at acute, subacute and longer-term time points. Given the crucial importance of monocyte-derived cells in repair and limiting infection following stroke, focus will be placed on pathways impacting the function of these cells, though changes in the function of other immune cells will also be investigated. Parallel preclinical studies will help further determine mechanisms underlying changes in immune cell function observed clinically.

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 here

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.


1. Pavlov, V.A. et al. Nat Neurosci 20, 156-66 (2017); 2. Askenase, M.H. et al. Immunity 42, 1130-42 (2015); 3. Allan, S.M. et al. Nat Rev Immunol 5, 629-40 (2005); 4. Sobowale, O.A. et al. Stroke 47, 2160-7 (2016)

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