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Molecular mechanisms of bacterial proteins involved in host recognition and defense

Pathogenic bacteria employ a large repertoire of molecular weapons known as virulence factors to infect the host and cause disease. In particular, autotransporter proteins, the largest family of secreted virulence factors in Gram-negative bacteria, promote bacterial colonisation, biofilm formation and host cell invasion and/or damage (1). In response, host cells deploy various antimicrobial strategies, such as the mobilization of copper at the site of infection, which induces bacterial stress. Despite the abundance of autotransporters and their roles in infection, their …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Immunology and Infection Control

Understanding the immunological mechanisms that regulate increased susceptibility to respiratory syncytial viral infection after stem cell transplantation.

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) is considered the gold standard procedure for the treatment of blood cancers. Globally, over 9000 patients per year undergo this high-risk, life-saving therapy. However, major complications limit the therapeutic potential of this treatment which include graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and infections due to the severe immunosuppression in these patients. Respiratory syncytial viral (RSV) infection is frequent in these patients, is often fatal and clearly a significant clinical problem. Thus, there is a pressing need for new …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Immunology and Infection Control

A novel molecular targeted therapy for anaplastic prostate cancer

In advanced PCa, where the cancer has spread into the bone and other organs, the emergence of treatment resistance remains inevitable. For decades the primary form of treatment in advanced PCa has been to target the production and actions of male sex hormones, androgens, the primary developmental and survival factor of prostate tissue. While these therapies result in tumour regression and cancer control, this is temporary and treatment resistance occurs, referred to as castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In the …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Development of peptides as therapeutics to treat drug-resistant metastatic melanoma

Melanoma is a very aggressive cancer due to its metastatic potential, and the third most common in Australia. Many patients with metastatic melanoma have strong side effects, do not respond, or develop resistance to current therapies, which results in low survival rate (26% in 5-years). This project aims at developing a new class of therapeutic leads to tackle drug-resistance in metastatic melanoma.Currently, the preferred first-line regimen given to patients with metastatic melanoma is immunotherapy with antibodies (i.e. ipilimumab and nivolumab), …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Dissecting the molecular and cellular basis of melanoma susceptibility

Several factors strongly influence an individual’s chance of developing melanoma. Paramount amongst these are the number of moles (nevi) present on the skin, cumulative levels of UV exposure and skin pigmentation phenotype. Numerous Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) we have identified gene variants at a number of loci that are strongly associated with cutaneous nevi (mole) counts, UV damage response and accordingly susceptibility of individuals to develop melanoma. Currently the functional impact of genetic variants in the genes IRF4, PLA2G6 …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Understanding the genetics of melanoma susceptibility: many roads lead to DNA repair

Repair of the damage caused by mutagens such as UV and reactive oxygen species is vital to prevent cancer and premature aging and accordingly cells have developed a suite of intricate and specific DNA repair pathways. Loss or abnormal function of components of these pathways lead to cancer pre-disposition syndromes for example breast cancer in individuals carrying mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Understanding the complexities of these DNA repair pathways is vital to efforts aimed at preventing or …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Characterising drivers of melanoma cell heterogeneity

Tumour cell heterogeneity is linked to tumour progression through the generation of divergent cellular behaviours such as proliferation, survival, invasion and therapy resistance. Crucially, conventional and targeted therapies generally only target highly proliferative cells in tumours leading to initial tumour regression, however alternative sub-populations underpin the return of treatment refractory disease and facilitate metastatic spread. Our laboratory is focused on understanding the regulatory drivers of cellular plasticity in melanoma to better understand progression and metastatic spread of this disease and …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Defining human immune responses to a healthy gut microbiome

Many human diseases are thought to involve interactions between the gut microbiome and the immune system which shape the nature and function of immunity. These interactions between host and environment are thought to be critical regulators of health and disease. In autoimmune diseases many studies have associated presence or absence of particular microbial species with diseases and some studies have shown influence of disease-related genetics on the composition of the gut microbiome. However, no studies to date have formally addressed …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Immunotherapy for autoimmune disease using T cell receptor-modified T-regulatory cells

Autoimmune diseases affect approximately 5% of Australians. Well known examples include type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases have unpleasant, and sometimes tragic, consequences for the affected person and are a costly burden on our health system. As treatment is often limited to managing symptoms, new therapies for autoimmune diseases are much desired.The autoimmune diseases we study are described as "organ-specific", which means the unwanted immune response attacks either a single organ, or a collection of organs …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Immunology and Infection Control

The interplay between environmental and genetic risk factors in the etiology of mental health disorders

Mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use) are the leading cause of global disease burden in the young adult population. Twin and family studies show that both genetic and environmental factors play a large role in the aetiology of these disorders. The Translational Neurogenomics group http://www.qimrberghofer.edu.au/lab/translational-neurogenomics/ aims to identify genetic risk factors for a range of mental health and substance use disorders, and investigate the interplay between genetic and environmental risk factors.UK Biobank is a major national and international …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Genomics and Personalised Health

Spatial localization of immunoglobulin A in the gastrointestinal tract.

Blood cancers, which include leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma account for 10% of all cancers and 9.4% of cancer deaths. Stem cell transplantation (SCT) is the predominant curative therapy for these diseases. However, a major complication is graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in which the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, skin, lung and liver are preferentially damaged by the transplanted donor immune system, limiting the therapeutic potential of this treatment. Thus, there is a pressing need for new treatment approaches to improve transplant outcome for …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Immunology and Infection Control

Engineering Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell for the treatment of cancer

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cells are genetically modified immune cells that can recognise and kill cancer cells. They do so through the CAR, which recognises specific antigens expressed on cancer cells. CAR T cell therapy has emerged as an effective form of cancer immunotherapy in certain types of blood cancers and are now approved for use in patients. However, CAR T cell therapy can only benefit a very small proportion of cancer patients at present because it is very …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

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