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Paediatric airway epithelium in health and disease: cross-talk between paediatric airway epithelium and dendritic cells following respiratory virus infection

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  • Full or part time
    Prof U Power
    Dr D Simpson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This project will be part of a Welcome Trust Strategic award involving 8 major UK universities and Monash University, Australia. It provides an exceptional opportunity for an excellent student to study the consequences of respiratory virus infection and aeroallergen exposure on airway epithelium from infants with or without wheeze/asthma and atopy and their ability to interact with dendritic cells.

RSV is a major cause of severe lower respiratory tract disease, such as bronchiolitis, in young infants. Severe RSV disease has been associated with the sequent development of wheeze/asthma. Asthma is predominantly a childhood onset disease affecting over 300 million people worldwide, and over a million UK children. Lung defects in asthmatic children at 6 years may be sustained into adulthood. The first six years of life are therefore critical in determining adult lung function and interactions between structural airway abnormalities, infantile viral infections, and atopy/allergy are key influences.

Airway epithelium is the major physiological and immunological barrier to pathogens and aeroallergens. Innate immune responses induced in airway epithelium influence antigen presenting cell differentiation and function, and ultimately, adaptive immunity. This unique project will employ state-of-the-art 3-D primary infant airway epithelium cultures that are physiologically and morphologically authentic to explore the crosstalk between airway epithelium, antigen presenting cells and T cells. It will therefore provide novel insights into RSV pathogenesis and wheeze/asthma development.


We are looking for graduates who are enthusiastic and strongly motivated to use the most innovative approaches to address key global challenges in infectious diseases, antimicrobial resistance, animal health, climate change and sustainability. Applicants should have a degree in biological sciences or a related discipline.

The minimum academic requirement is an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider (or qualifications deemed equivalent by the University).

Students wishing to apply to Queen’s University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language) must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. For more information on English Language requirements see

Funding Notes

The studentship will be funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE). Please read the full information on eligibility criteria: View Website

However, there may be flexibility to fund a small number of exceptional International applicants.

General enquiries about the programme may be directed to [Email Address Removed]


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Experimental Medicine, website for further details about the Centre:

When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

Related Subjects

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