Inflammasomes are multi-protein complexes which are crucial for initiating immune responses, and are required for activating key cytokines such as IL-1 beta. They are therefore critically important for protecting the body from damage and infection. However, inappropriate activation leads to Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome, which is an inflammatory disease affecting multiple organs, including skin.
Inappropriate activation of the skin immune system more generally, leads to inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. These are common chronic diseases with no cure, which place a huge burden on healthcare systems, and have a devastating impact on patients. Both genetic and environmental factors drive both diseases however, the initiation of each disease remains poorly understood.
Mutations in inflammasome components are associated with an increased risk of psoriasis, and inflammasomes are hyperactive in psoriasis, suggesting that inflammasome overactivity contributes to disease. However, the role of inflammasomes in atopic dermatitis is less clear. Inflammasome activation is suggested to exacerbate disease, but it is unclear if inflammasomes are overactive in atopic dermatitis. Therefore, more research is required to determine if there is a role for inflammasomes in atopic dermatitis.
This project will determine the involvement of inflammasomes in pre-clinical models of psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. It is already known that IL-1 beta is crucial for driving inflammation in psoriasis models, but this project will build on this knowledge by determining which specific inflammasomes are involved in the activation of inflammatory cytokines, how they are activated, and in which cell types these inflammasomes are active. Similarly, the involvement of inflammasomes in atopic dermatitis, will be examined.
Together this project will determine the involvement of inflammasomes in driving both psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. This will determine if inflammasome components are potential novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of these diseases, which currently cannot be cured.
Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area/subject. Candidates with previous laboratory experience, particularly in cell culture and molecular biology, are particularly encouraged to apply.
How To Apply
For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/). Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select PhD Genetics
For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website https://www.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/study/research/apply/equality-diversity-inclusion/”
For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit www.internationalphd.manchester.ac.uk