Rescuing orphan proteins

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Christine Wells

Summary The Wells laboratory uses pluripotent stem cells to study tissue-resident immune cells such as macrophages and microglia to model specific disease or activation states in the laboratory dish. We host the resource and use this to understand the genetic networks underpinning cell differentiation and molecular identity. We are particularly interested in discovering and characterising new molecular controllers of immune cell function during tissue inflammation or injury – one example is the role of the C-type lectin Mincle on resident tissue macrophages in exacerbating neuroinflammation in brain and eye after injury.

Project Details

Orphan proteins are genes with predicted open reading frames, but whose location and function has not been previously characterised. The Wells laboratory has identified a number of orphan proteins whose expression in macrophages indicate a role in innate immunity. Students will be assigned an orphan to characterise from first principles. The project has two parts – the first is to use the bioinformatics tools in the lab to assess which tissues and cells the orphan protein is expressed in. The second part of the project is to use CRISPR/CAS9 to tag the orphan in stem cells, so that it’s movement in the cell can be visualised through microscopy methods. The student will gain experience in molecular biology methods and stem cell culture, including differentiation to different cell types.  This project is suitable for biology or bioengineering students, and aspects can be undertaken as part of an honours or masters program.

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
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.

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