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Ph.D. Fellowship in Intestinal Innate Immunity and Host Defense Peptides

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

One Ph.D. position is available immediately at the University of Calgary, Canada to study gut innate immunity contributed by host defense peptides and immunoregulation in the epithelial and leukocyte cross-talking in response to microbial pathogens.
The Cobo lab is located at the Foothills campus of the University of Calgary and is part of the large and interactive Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, Inflammation Research Network, and Infection Biology groups. Mentoring and collaboration are core values across the medicine, biology and veterinary faculties, providing an excellent environment for doctoral training.
The lab investigates antimicrobial and immune-modulatory functions of host defense (cathelicidin and defensin) peptides innately secreted by the intestinal epithelium and surrounding neutrophils in intestinal homeostasis and disease. These peptides are important components of the epithelial innate immune system, with still unknown roles controlling infection and mitigating inflammatory responses. They are increasingly interesting as novel therapeutic alternatives to conventional antibiotics.
The successful candidate will work with Dr. Cobo to determine the role of cathelicidins promoting neutrophil and macrophage defenses in the gut when infected by pathogens (special emphasis in Salmonella and Cryptosporidium) and explore new roles of host defense peptides in the gut mucin barrier. The lab has established several models of infection in cultured intestinal cells and leukocytes, advanced 3-dimensional culture organoids systems and murine models deprived of cathelicidins to determine mechanisms of action of cathelicidins and defensins. Findings are further studied in large animal models (e.g., pigs and calves). Cutting-edge immunology tools, including flow cytometry and genome-wide expression analyses combined with state-of-the-art microscopy to identify correlates of immune protection and pathways of immune regulation in gut protection, are routinely used.
The lab culture is highly collaborative and in addition to leading their own project, the fellow will have opportunities to contribute to other team projects in the lab related to skin and mammary gland innate immunology. The candidate will also develop and participate in external collaborations, and in mentoring junior lab members as part of career development.

About the University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity, and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit
To succeed as one of Canada’s top universities, where new ideas are created, tested and applied through first-class teaching and research, the University of Calgary needs more of the best minds in our classrooms and labs. We’re increasing our scholarly capacity by investing in people who want to change the world, bringing the best and brightest to Calgary to form a global intellectual hub and achieve advances that matter to everyone.

About Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is one of the world’s cleanest cities and has been named one of the world’s most livable cities for years. Calgary is a city of leaders – in business, community, philanthropy, and volunteerism. Calgarians benefit from the strongest economy in the nation and enjoy more days of sunshine per year than any other major Canadian city. Calgary is less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and boasts the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America.

Funding Notes

- MS degree in a pertinent area (e.g., medicine, veterinary sciences, biomedical science, immunopathology, molecular biology) is required.
- Ability to work independently with good communication (oral and written) skills in English is needed.
- Experience in immunology or molecular biology, animal models, and lab techniques (e.g., qPCR, immunofluorescence, western blotting, ELISA, cell culture, flow cytometry) are highly desired.


For further information about this position, please contact:
Dr. Eduardo R Cobo
Email: [email protected]; phone: +1 (403) 210-7247

Interested applicants should apply by email to the above investigator and include a 1) cover letter describing the motivation for this position, 2) a detailed CV, and 3) the names and contact details of 2 referees.

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