Understanding the role of the microbiome in lung viral infections

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
Dr Andrew Jarnicki jarnicki@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Gary Anderson gpa@unimelb.edu.au
Dr Joe Ciccotosto

Summary Our research is focused on understanding the molecular basis of chronic degenerative lung diseases, in particular severe refractory asthma, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD), Asthma-COPD Overlap, the COPD-lung cancer interface and fibrotic lung diseases. We are interested in understanding the reasons why lung disease becomes chronic and resists the normal processes that help resolve tissue damage, as well as why the damaged lung is so susceptible to subsequent infections. Our research also focuses on developing and testing experimental medicines in preclinical models. We work with leading clinicians/researchers at the RMH and internationally to translate our basic findings into useful medicines.

Project Details

This project addresses a major but much under-appreciated problem- vaccinations do not work well in patients suffering Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD afflicts 1 in 20 Australian and is the 5th leading cause of death (AIHW 2019). Globally COPD afflicts more than 300 million people and is the third leading cause of death. An overwhelming proportion of disease burden is due to infection. It is now clear that there is a strong reciprocal association between gut health and distal diseases, and that the manipulation of the gut microbiome and its subsequent metabolite production affects immunity and disease outcomes, including altering vaccine potency. Diet, antibiotic exposure and smoking are the main factors affecting microbiota composition. The aim here is to determine how diet can alter the gut microbiome, and how this affects immune responses to a flu vaccine.  Antibody production, critical early gene expression and alterations in flu specific immune cell responses will be examined. 

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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