• National University of Singapore Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of East Anglia Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
  • Cardiff University Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes
  • London School of Economics and Political Science Featured PhD Programmes
University of Liverpool Featured PhD Programmes
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
King’s College London Featured PhD Programmes
Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Modification of T helper cell function by synthetic biology approaches

This project is no longer listed in the FindAPhD
database and may not be available.

Click here to search the FindAPhD database
for PhD studentship opportunities
  • Full or part time
    Dr Daniel Hebenstreit
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Synthetic biology holds great promise for many diverse fields, including energy and food production and the enhancement of human health [1]. A particular aim of synthetic biology is it to modify functions of immune cells to control immune responses in a specific way. Recent efforts targeting T helper cells (CD4+) have been highly successful and have produced cells that resist HIV infection [2] or cells that could be controlled with regards to their proliferative properties [3]. Such accomplishments have a great potential for the treatment of many different diseases.

In this project, we are aiming to introduce more complex synthetic circuits into murine T helper cells in order to allow for a more precise and intricate control of their function. We will use genome editing in order to rewire signaling pathways associated with activation, cell division, growth rate, and cytokine secretion. This will yield cells that can be artificially instructed to fulfill a spectrum of diverse roles.

The project will initially involve transfections of murine cell lines to ectopically express factors and explore their suitability for our project. The results will be evaluated using a combination of single-molecule RNA-FISH [4], flow cytometry, and next generation sequencing. In later project stages, CRISPR/Cas9 technology [5] will be employed to re-engineer the cell lines to yield stable systems with controllable synthetic components.

Keywords: Immunology, synthetic biology, systems biology, gene expression, transcription, stochastic kinetics, biological noise, genome editing, mammalian cells


1. Lienert, F., et al., Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 2014. 15(2): p. 95.
2. Tebas, P., et al., N Engl J Med, 2014. 370(10): p. 901.
3. Chen, Y.Y., et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2010. 107(19): p. 8531.
4. Raj, A., et al., Nat Methods, 2008. 5(10): p. 877.
5. Ran, F.A., et al., Nat Protoc, 2013. 8(11): p. 2281.

How good is research at University of Warwick in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.60

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Cookie Policy    X