A metabolomic investigation into the effects of allergic sensitisation on human dendritic cells
The School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences seek a PhD candidate to work in an active research team led by Dr Dong-Hyun Kim and Prof Amir Ghaemmaghami. The project focuses on using metabolomic studies for better understanding of the molecular basis of allergic sensitisation with focus on the role of dendritic cells. Successful candidate will receive training in advanced analytical methodologies including liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and chemometrics for metabolomic approaches as well as a host of cellular and molecular biology/immunology techniques such as human cell culture, working with dendritic cells, flowcytometry, microscopy and PCR.
Allergic sensitisation to environmental allergens is one of the main risk factors for developing allergic asthma, a disease currently affecting millions of adults and children in the UK and worldwide. Therefore, treatment strategies targeting early events leading to allergic sensitisation will be of great interest and could prevent disease progression. To develop improved treatment strategies, a detailed understanding of how allergens are recognised by the immune system and how such recognition leads to allergic sensitisation and allergy is required.
Analytical techniques for the investigation of allergic sensitisation are required to be specific for the signalling molecules as well as global for pathway analysis. Metabolomic approaches enable simultaneous measurement of a number of metabolites in a biological system and can give comprehensive information on how metabolism is perturbed by various stresses at the cellular level. These informative data can be used to investigate the early events leading to allergic sensitisation. LC-MS is a powerful analytical technique not only for the quantification of metabolites but also for the identification of known and unknown compounds in biological samples. Therefore, this technique can identify novel targets for treating allergic disease based on the better understanding of signalling pathways involved in allergic sensitisation.
In this project, the successful PhD candidate will undertake the development of new metabolite profiling methodologies, specifically to optimise metabolic quenching, metabolite extraction and LC-MS analytical conditions. These methods will be applied to human dendritic cells for metabolite profiling to identify metabolic pathways, which are targeted by allergens. The student will also carry out subsequent statistical analyses using specialised software tools and on-line compound database searching. This novel methodology will then be applied to study allergic diseases to identify novel targets for therapy and the development of new drugs.
This research project is only for international or Home/EU students who can cover their own fees and living expenses.
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FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.10
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