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MSc by Research programme - How do T cells maintain quiescence at the intestinal epithelial barrier?

School of Life Sciences

Dundee United Kingdom Immunology

About the Project

The lining of the gut is constantly exposed to external inputs including food antigens, microbes, and chemicals. Intraepithelial T lymphocytes (IEL) are a specialized subset of immune cells that patrol the single layer of epithelial cells lining the gut. In a normal disease-free state, IEL are resting, and exist in harmony with all these foreign insults. When a pathogen is encountered, however, IEL are able to respond rapidly, either killing the infected or stressed cell, or alerting the rest of the immune system to deal with the situation. We would like to understand how IEL are kept in this resting state, yet can be triggered so rapidly. This is particularly important to understand from a disease-perspective as well, since activated IEL that are left unchecked can drive or aggravate inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and Coeliac disease. The project available in my lab is to investigate how the metabolism of IEL contributes to keeping them in check, and how dietary components might regulate IEL function. These studies will help us to better understand our bodies’ responses to diet, and also suggest ways to control inflammation in the gut in inflammatory bowel diseases. 

Please see our website for further details and how to apply -

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