Stromal cell dysfunction in ageing and the impact on vaccine responses
About the Project:
We invite applications for a Department of Immunology and Inflammation-funded PhD studentship to investigate the impact of ageing on lymphoid stromal cell function and the consequences for the development of immune responses in the research group of Dr. Alice Denton ([Email Address Removed]). Dr. Denton and her group investigate how lymphoid tissue stromal cells regulate adaptive immune responses, and how these cells can be targeted for therapeutic benefit, with a particular focus on improving vaccine efficacy in the ageing population.
The generation of protective immunity, such as that induced by vaccination, requires sequential interactions between different immune cells that are coordinated in time and space by lymphoid tissue stromal cells. Immunity declines with advancing age, culminating in poor responsiveness to vaccines in older individuals. How ageing impacts on the ability of lymphoid tissue stromal cells to support these interactions is poorly understood, and this project aims to fill this knowledge gap. This project will investigate the cellular and molecular pathways of lymphoid stromal cell activation; how these pathways become dysfunctional with age; and how stromal cell dysfunction may be overcome to improve vaccine efficacy in older individuals.
The project will provide training in cell culture, key immunology techniques (flow cytometry, imaging and transcriptomics) and in vivo models. Additional training will be provided where necessary.
Applicants must have/or expect to gain a first class or upper second class honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject area (immunology or closely-related field), preferably with experience in immunology assays and/or cell culture. A Masters degree and/or laboratory experience is desirable, but not essential. We are seeking highly motivated applicants with excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.
How to Apply:
Applicants are requested to send a full CV, including the names and email addresses of at least two academic referees, and a personal statement detailing why you are interested in the research project (maximum one page A4; 12pt, Arial). Suitable candidates will then be asked to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry.
Please send your application and any informal enquiries directly to Alice Denton ([Email Address Removed]).
The PhD studentship is funded by the Department of Immunology and Inflammation, Imperial College London. Stipend: £18,000 (inclusive of London Allowance) p.a. + Tuition Fees (UK/EU rate) for 3 years.
Overseas students should be able to demonstrate adequate financial support to cover the difference between UK/EU fee and the overseas fee. Applications are also required to meet Imperial College’s English language requirements. Please see the following link: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/requirements/english/
Denton AE, Carr EJ, Magiera LP, Watts AJB, Fearon DT. Embryonic FAP+ lymphoid tissue organizer cells generate the reticular network of adult lymph nodes. J. Exp. Med. 2019. Oct 7;216(10):2242-2252. PMID: 31324739 PMCID: PMC6780995 DOI: 10.1084/jem.20181705
Denton AE, Innocentin S, Carr EJ, Bradford BM, Lafouresse F, Mabbott NA, Morbe U, Ludewig B, Groom JR, Good-Jacobson KL, Linterman MA. Type I IFN induces CXCL13 to support ectopic germinal center formation. J Exp Med. 2019. Mar 4;216(3):621-637. PMID: 30723095 PMCID: PMC6400543 DOI: 10.1084/jem.20181216
Linterman MA and Denton AE. Stromal networking: cellular connections in the germinal centre. Curr Opin Immunol. 2017. Apr;45:103-111 PMID: 28319729 DOI: 10.1016/j.coi.2017.03.001
Denton AE, Roberts EW, Linterma MA, Fearon DT. Fibroblastic reticular cells of the lymph node are required for the retention of resting but not activated CD8+ T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014. Aug 19;111(33):12139-44. PMID: 25092322 PMCID: PMC4143042 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1412910111