• Immunology 
  • Neuroscience 
  • Pharmacology 

Location: School of Biomedical Sciences (St Lucia)

Type of student: 

  • Higher Degree Research only i.e. PhD or MPhil (intercalated MD-PhD & MD-MPhil) 
  • PGY1: Post-graduate year 1 
  • PGY2: Post-graduate year 2 

Type of work: 

  • Clinical work 
  • Wet lab work

Brief synopsis:

Prior studies from our laboratory have shown that circulating immune cells in patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as motor neuron disease (MND) are shifted towards a more activated state and correlate with rate of progression and disease phenotype (McGill et al., 2020). This suggests that immune cells and their activation status are important in determining functional outcomes. What is not yet known however, is the mechanisms within disease patient’s cells that drive this clinical presentation. The goal of this project is therefore to identify, the molecular and functional mechanisms that are shifted in immune cells of patients with neurodegenerative disease. The project will combine clinical studies with laboratory ‘bench-work’ utilising state of art techniques to interrogate cellular functions. Outcomes of this project will lead to a greater understanding of the immune-drivers of neurodegeneration, and identification of clinically tractable therapeutic targets.

McGill RB, Steyn FJ, Ngo ST, Thorpe KA, Heggie S, Ruitenberg MJ, Henderson RD, McCombe PA, Woodruff TM. Monocytes and neutrophils are associated with clinical features in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Brain Commun. 2020 Feb 14;2(1):fcaa013.


Professor Trent Woodruff

School of Biomedical Sciences