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Pattern Recognition Receptors in Antimicrobial Immunity

   School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  Prof G Brown, Dr J Willment  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Our understanding of the mechanisms of protective immunity against fungi lags behind those of other microbes, even though these pathogens infect billions of individuals every year and kill more people than tuberculosis or malaria. The discovery that fungi were recognised by the C-type lectin receptor, Dectin-1, represented a major advance in this area. This breakthrough led to considerable interest in C-type lectin receptors (CLR) and over the last decade or so we have learned much about the functions of CLRs and their signalling pathways. Indeed, we have discovered that myeloid-expressed CLRs can function as archetypical pattern recognition receptors driving numerous innate responses and the development of adaptive immunity. Importantly, we have shown that CLRs and their signalling pathways are essential for protective antimicrobial immunity in mammals, but we are only just beginning to understand how CLRs function in vivo. Such knowledge offers huge potential in terms of understanding disease susceptibility, immunotherapy and vaccination.

The Wellcome Trust has funded Professor Gordon Brown with a Senior Investigator Award to gain a better understanding of the roles of CLRs in vivo. The PhD project on offer is part of this award and would focus on exploring recently discovered and unpublished immune functions driven by Dectin-1 and other CLRs which are required for protective anti-microbial immunity in vivo


We are therefore looking for a motivated and ambitious PhD student to help tackle this exciting project.

Applicants will be shortlisted for interview based on their academic credentials and are expected to have a First Class Honours undergraduate degree and/or an excellent postgraduate qualification. Previous experience in molecular biology techniques would be an advantage.

Funding Notes

Please submit an application via the University of Aberdeen's online applicant portal. You should select 'Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Sciences' from the list of programme options (please do not search for the project title), then enter the name of the supervisors and the project title in the space provided.


1. Dambuza, I.M. and G. D. Brown. 2015. C-type lectins in immunity: Recent Developments. Current Opinion in Immunology. 32:21-27.

2. Drummond, R. and G.D. Brown. 2013. Signalling C-type Lectins in Anti-Microbial Immunity. PloS Pathogens (Pearl). 9: e1003417.

3. Brown, G. D., D. W. Denning, N. A. R. Gow, S. M. Levitz, M. G. Netea and T. C. White. 2012. Hidden killers: Human fungal infections. Science Translational Medicine. 4:165rv13.

4. Brown, G.D., Denning, D.D., and S. M. Levitz. 2012. Tackling human fungal infections. Science. 336: 647.
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