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The influence of infection history in precision medicine: Understanding long-term changes in lung immunity after respiratory viral infection

College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences

, Dr Stephen Jenkins Thursday, January 07, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Dr Georgia Perona-Wright
Dr Stephen Jenkins

Project summary:
Our history of preceeding infections shapes our immune response to new infections, and understanding the molecular mechanisms involved is a critical component of individualised medicine. Respiratory viral infections are known to cause long-term changes in lung function and immune status. Those changes in immune status can lead to significant susceptibility to subsequent disease, as seen when influenza virus infection increases susceptibility to bacterial pneumonia. The aim of this project is to understand what changes about the immune cells in the lung, during influenza, that might explain the altered susceptibility to future disease.

We are focusing on macrophages, key cells mediating rapid immune defenses in the airways. Our hypothesis is that the transcriptional changes that we see in pulmonary macrophages after influenza virus infection are imposed by both environmental signals in infected regions of lung tissue, and by the developmental history of the macrophage cell itself. The data we generate will provide new insight into the immune defenses in the lung, and in mapping the long-term consequences of acute lung challenge. We will use a combination of infection and co-infection models, single cell and spatial transcriptomics, functional assays and disease severity scores, and we plan for an exciting and varied PhD experience with network and skills development in science, management, project design, teaching and communication.

This MRC programme is joint between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will be registered at the host institution of the primary supervisor detailed in your project selection.

All applications should be made via the University of Edinburgh, irrespective of project location via the link below.

Please note, you must apply to one of the projects and you must contact the primary supervisor prior to making your application. Additional information on the application process is available from the link above.

For more information about Precision Medicine and what is required when submitting an application, please visit:

Funding Notes

Start: September 2021

Qualifications criteria: Applicants applying for an MRC DTP in Precision Medicine studentship must have obtained, or will soon obtain, a first or upper-second class UK honours degree or equivalent non-UK qualification, in an appropriate science/technology area. The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £15,285 (UKRI rate 2020/21).

Full eligibility details are available: View Website

Enquiries regarding programme:

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