Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

In progress.

Research centre

External supervisors

  • A/Professor David Reid, QIMR Berghofer
  • Dr Pramila Maniam, QIMR Berghofer
  • Dr Ama Tawiah Essilfie, QIMR Berghofer


Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease caused by cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) mutation. CFTR protein is responsible for transporting chloride to the cells and defective CFTR leads to excessive sweat and mucus secretion mainly affecting the lungs. Cystic fibrosis lungs are prone to bacterial infection which could lead to exacerbations.

High levels of iron have been reported in airways of cystic fibrosis patients and this is associated with increased bacterial infection in the patients. However, the mechanism of iron dysregulation in CF is not known thus far. Therefore, we aim to understand the mechanism of iron homeostasis in cystic fibrosis.

This project is based at QIMR Berghofer (Herston).

Research activities

Research activities include:

  • laboratory experiments
  • data collection
  • data analysis.

We have collected all the tissues, serum and bronchioalveolar lavage (BALF) from mice with G551D CFTR mutation and WT mice. The tissues will be subjected for protein and gene expression studies, histology, immunohistochemistry, iron assay and ICP-MS. The serum and BALF will be subjected for cytokine analysis.

You can expect to gain experience in:

  • molecular biology techniques
  • microscopy
  • planning and executing experiments
  • processing mice tissues
  • collection and statistical analysis of data.

As part of the project, you'll be expected to have characterised the mechanism of iron homeostasis in an animal model of cystic fibrosis.

You'll receive supervision and training, lab space, desk space and a computer to carry out the research.


These results will be used to generate publication. You'll receive guidance on preparing a manuscript from the start of the project.

Skills and experience

You should have experience in basic biology.



Contact the supervisors for more information:

Associate Professor David Reid is the principal supervisor.