Field:

  • Neuroscience 
  • Pharmacology 

Location: St Lucia

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only (includes intercalated PhD & MPhil and Concurrent MPhil) 

Type of work: Wet lab work 

There is now convincing evidence that the peripheral immune system is altered in motor MND. For example, peripheral blood monocytes are shifted to a pro-inflammatory phenotype, and are found to progressively infiltrate the central nervous system, and contribute to motor neuron death. Further, immunoregulatory and cytotoxic T-cell populations are also altered and modulate the progression of disease by limiting pro-inflammatory responses. In addition to a key role for the immune system in MND, there are profound metabolic alterations, which shape disease outcomes.

A nexus between immune cell pro-inflammatory responses and immune cell metabolism has emerged (Tannahill et al., 2013, Nature; Pearce et al., 2013, Science). Given the key roles for both immune cells and metabolism in MND, this project will investigate the interplay between metabolism and inflammation in MND. Specifically, the contribution of distinct cellular metabolic pathways to the induction of pro-inflammatory responses will be explored in immune cells isolated from MND patients and transgenic mouse models of MND. Ultimately, this research will lead to a greater understanding of immuno-metabolism in MND, and provide an opportunity to identify and direct therapeutics to block metabolic signalling in order to reduce inflammatory damage. 

Website: https://biomedical-sciences.uq.edu.au/research/labs/neuroinflammation

 

Supervisor

A/Prof Trent Woodruff

NHMRC Career Development Fellow
School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine