Deciphering the molecular mechanisms that mediate bacterial killing by human platelets
To celebrate the University's research successes, the University of Hull is offering this project supported by a full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary. It is one of a cluster of projects available as part of a significant investment into new and emerging areas of platelet research at Hull York Medical School's Hull campus.
Closing date: - 29th February 2016.
Studentships will start on 26th September 2016
Supervisor: Dr Monica Arman (contact firstname.lastname@example.org) with Dr Simon Calaminus
Platelets are blood cells that play a critical role in cessation of bleeding. However they also have important immunological functions. Platelet activation is involved in antibacterial host defence by secreting antimicrobial peptides like Platelet Factor 4 (PF4) or modulating leukocyte responses and inflammation. In some infections the formation of platelet aggregates upon platelet activation might be a beneficial way to trap and contain bacteria within clumps. For some bacterial species, bacteria internalisation within individual platelets has been reported.
Although platelet activation to undergo secretion and/or aggregation takes place in response to a wide range of bacteria, the effect on bacterial survival has been poorly investigated. In this study we propose to perform a detailed characterisation of the molecular mechanisms by which human platelets mediate bacterial death. A range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria will be systematically tested for susceptibility to PF4-mediated killing, and the mechanisms regulating PF4 release and its interaction with these pathogens will be characterised. Furthermore internalisation of bacteria within platelets and the molecular pathways underlying this process will be explored. The study will focus on the role of specific platelet surface receptors involved in immunity (e.g. FcγRIIA receptor recognising IgG-coated bacteria, Toll-like receptors, CD36 scavenger receptor) and platelet signalling pathways controlling cytoskeleton rearrangements involved in exocytic (e.g. PF4 release) and endocytic (e.g. bacteria internalisation) responses to bacteria.
The student will join a research team that utilises multidisciplinary approaches to study platelet-pathogen interactions. He/she will use a number of molecular and cell biology techniques including confocal and fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, western blotting, and immunoprecipitation to examine how platelets respond to bacteria. This is an excellent opportunity for training in basic cell and molecular biology techniques, and in the study of cellular signal transduction and bacteria-host cell interactions.
To apply for this post please click on the Apply button below.
In order to qualify for this scholarship you will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or equivalent in a relevant subject.
Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,057 in 2015/16) for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.
Full-time International PhD Fee Bursaries will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.
PhD students at Hull York Medical School follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.
Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 30th April 2016 at the latest.