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The interplay between antigen presenting and epithelial cells in allergic sensitisation

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Ghaemmaghami
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Allergic diseases and asthma have remained global health issues with substantial morbidity and mortality. They are typically associated with Th2 mediated inflammatory responses that are initiated upon the interaction of allergens with epithelial cells followed by allergen recognition and uptake by antigen presenting cells, such as dendritic cells (DCs), leading to Th2 cell differentiation and culminate in IgE production. However, the molecular basis of early events at the interface of allergens and the immune system and how Th2 type responses are initiated and propagated have remained elusive. Recent studies from our group have shed light on how allergen recognition by DCs leads to Th2 cell polarization. For example, we have shown that two C-type lectin receptors on DCs, namely the mannose receptor (MR) and DC-SIGN, play a key role in the uptake of a number of clinically relevant allergens from diverse sources and mediate allergen driven Th2 cell polarisation and IgE production. However, the exact role of airway epithelial cells (AECs) in allergen recognition and uptake is not well understood.

In this project we will investigate early events at the interface of allergens and AECs and determine how such events could lead to allergic sensitisation. As part of this, we will also study the cross-talk between allergen activated AECs and DCs. Our ultimate aim is to better understand the nature of events that lead to Th2 cell polarisation and IgE production in response to exposure to allergens. These new insights could pave the way for the rational design of new treatment strategies for allergic diseases. This project will provide training in different cell and tissue culture techniques, cellular immunology, flowcytometry, microscopy, histology and molecular biology.

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Funding Notes

Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages for information on specific EU scholarships http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/graduateschool/funding/prospective-students/index.aspx. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page for information regarding fees and funding at the University http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studywithus/international-applicants/scholarships-fees-and-finance/index.aspx.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Nottingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 90.86

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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