Field:

  • Immunology
  • Kidney disease

Location: QIMR Berghofer (Herston)

Type of student: Both PhD/MPhil and Volunteer

Type of work: Wet lab work

Background

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the most common chronic disease in Australia. One of the key drivers of CKD is renal hypoxia, where the kidney is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. This project examines the functional relationships between human resident kidney cells and infiltrating immune cells during hypoxic renal damage. The project builds on novel information generated by our research team in the early stages of CKD and aims to extend the work to the later stages where tissue damage is established and appears irreversible.

Aims

Aim 1 – To define the molecular and phenotypic profile of PTEC under in vitro hypoxic conditions.
Aim 2 – Ex vivo characterisation of PTEC under hypoxic conditions (correlations to frozen sections).
Aim 3 – To define the immunological drivers of CKD by in vitro co-culture of hypoxic primary PTEC with human leukocytes – in particular, NK cells and dendritic cell subsets.

Research Techniques

This research project will provide in-depth skills of cell-culture, multi-colour flow cytometry, protein detection using Western blotting/ELISA assays, immunohistochemistry and immune-cell interactions using proliferation assays, cytokine expression and apoptosis analysis.

Feasibility

All human ethics approvals are in place for this study. Sufficient frozen primary human PTEC and autologous leukocyte samples are available for the study and all necessary equipment including cell-culture cabinets, incubators, hypoxic chambers, centrifuges etc are in place in the Laboratory. All techniques are in regular use in the Laboratory.