Manipulating MAIT cells for increased protection by vaccination and therapy

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Department
Microbiology and Immunology
Location
Doherty Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Alexandra Corbett corbetta@unimelb.edu.au (03) 8344 9914 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Zhenjun Chen zhenjun@unimelb.edu.au (03) 8344 9910 Personal web page
Dr Sidonia Eckle seckle@unimelb.edu.au (03) 8344 0775 Personal web page

Summary In collaboration with microbiologists and clinicians we have set up a number of infection models in mice to evaluate the efficacy of Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell-based therapies. We also seek to understand MAIT cell fate after “boosting”, and the best methods to drive MAIT cell numbers and function towards better protection.

Project Details

We, and others have demonstrated that MAIT cells, unlike other innate like T (NKT or gd T) cells, are capable of forming memory after priming or primary infection, which provides the foundation for MAIT cell-based vaccination. Since MAIT cells are donor-unrestricted (identical between individuals), and MAIT cell immunity is highly conserved between species, with regards to both the MAIT cell antigen and the immune receptors involved, future MAIT-cell based interventions including vaccination and therapies, will be universally applicable among all human individuals (not restricted by MHC polymorphism) and farm animals (pigs, sheep and cattle) as relevant to the food industry. We have developed methods to “boost” MAIT cells in vivo by primary bacterial infection or synthetic antigen and toll-like receptor agonists. In collaboration with microbiologists and clinicians we have set up a number of infection models in mice to evaluate the efficacy of MAIT cell-based therapies. We also seek to understand MAIT cell fate after “boosting”, and the best methods to drive MAIT cell numbers and function towards better protection. Analysis includes examination of both the quantity and quality of boosted MAIT cells with various combinations of vaccination components, following the fate of animals and determining pathogen burden in vaccinated versus non-vaccinated mice. Using MAIT cell specific tetramers, generated originally in our laboratory, we characterise the frequency and function of MAIT cells by flow cytometry after various manipulations.



Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Infection & Immunity



Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Microbiology and Immunology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

McCluskey laboratory: Role of MAIT cells in health and disease

Research Node

Doherty Institute

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