Student Projects

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Chronic Disorders

Discovering novel immunoregulatory molecules underlying the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus

The lab studies the immunobiology of B-lymphocytes particularly the B cell survival factors BAFF and APRIL and their receptors BAFF-R, TACI and BCMA. Professor Mackay has shown that excess BAFF leads to autoimmunity in mice and is associated with human autoimmunity, in particular systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). BAFF receptor TACI is highly expressed on memory […]

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Genetic and epidemiological studies of Parkinson’s disease

PhD project but may also be considered for Honours project. A background (or strong interest) in genetics, epidemiology, data science, statistics or bioinformatics is preferred. Previous research experience coding and analysing data (genetic, clinical or other kind) using R/Python is also desirable. Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects >100,000 Australians, and the number of patients worldwide […]

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Eye disease genetics

Suited to someone with an undergraduate or Master’s degree in genetic epidemiology, epidemiology, statistics or bioinformatics. Experience in the analysis/manipulation of large datasets and a good knowledge of computing is desirable. Experience in ophthalmic genetics advantageous but not essential. Non-statistical applicants must be able to demonstrate some knowledge of statistics. For statistical applicants, some knowledge […]

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Genetics of skin cancer

The post is ideally suited to someone with an undergraduate or Master’s degree in genetic epidemiology, epidemiology, statistics or bioinformatics. Experience in the analysis/manipulation of large datasets and a good knowledge of computing is desirable. Experience in cancer genetics and/or molecular biology advantageous but not essential. Non-statistical applicants must be able to demonstrate some knowledge […]

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Cell death pathways and the induction of type-2 inflammation

It is now recognised that there are several different types of cells death. Importantly, the mode of cell death affects the ensuing immune response. We have recognised an important role for necroptosis in the induction of type-2 inflammation and immunity, which is the predominant module of immunity that underpins allergic diseases such as asthma. In […]

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Eicosanoids and viral exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Prostaglandin D2 is a lipid mediator generated from the metabolism of arachidonic acid. We recently discovered (Werder et al, Science Translational Medicine) that PGD2 can enhance or suppress the production of type III IFN, a potent antiviral cytokine. This contrasting effect is dependent on the receptor subtype that is activated. In both COPD and asthma, […]

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Microbiome and neonatal immune development in early life

The microbiome is known to affect immune development. For example, germ-free mice have fewer Peyer’s patches in the gut wall, suggesting that the gut microbiome regulates the formation of this lymphoid tissue. Other studies have shown that germ-free mice have fewer natural killer T cells. Both the microbiome and the immune system develop postnatally (predominantly […]

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Insights into the influence of maternal diet on the severity of infant viral bronchiolitis

Viral bronchiolitis is an infection of the small airways (bronchioles) characterised by the infiltration of neutrophils, oedema, and shedding on the epithelial cells that line the airway. A recent population study found that the offspring of mothers who ate a poor diet in the third trimester were predisposed to severe viral bronchiolitis. We have modelled […]

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Prevention of allergy development in neonates by manipulating the microbiome

This project is suitable for a PhD student. Nearly one billion people globally suffer from allergies responsible for significant morbidity and reduced quality of life. Our group has discovered a process during the neonatal “Window of Opportunity” that prevents allergy from developing later in life. We propose to understand the mechanisms that allow neonates to […]

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