Host–Microbe interactions; investigating mucosal and systemic immune responses to bacteria

Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Department / Centre
Melbourne Dental School
Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne,Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Neil O'Brien-Simpson
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Jason Lenzo
Dr James Holden

Project Details

The initial interaction of bacteria and bacterial products with mucosal tissue and the induced immune response are fundamental to bacterial invasion of tissue, infection and disease pathology. We are focused on investigating how antibiotic susceptible and resistant bacterial strains differ in their interactions and what materials they produce (with particular interest in outer membrane vesicles, OMVs) to aid invasion and infection. We are also interested in discovering how oral bacteria interact with the host to cause disease and how they are associated with systemic conditions such as cancer (e.g. oral, pancreatic and bowel cancers). We have already found that there is pathogenic synergy between pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria and their ability to cause disease and immunopathology. We are offering a number of projects investigating:

  1. The mucosal and systemic immune responses to single and multi-bacterial species colonization and infection.
  2. What and how bacterial factors such as OMVs interact with immune cells such as CD4+, CD8+, αβ or γδ T-cells, B-cells, Macrophages, NKT cells and dendritic cells.
  3. How do bacteria effect immune cell trafficking and infiltration into the mucosa of bacterial infected tissue and its effect of multiple bacteria infection.
  4. How OMVs aid bacterial invasion and infection of antibiotic susceptible and resistant bacteria and oral bacteria that cause chronic periodontitis.

Areas/techniques in which expertise will be developed Flow cytometry (multi-parameter), fluorescence activated sorting, bacteriology (aerobic and anaerobic), microbiology techniques (MBC, MIC, MDC, growth kinetics), tissue culture (mammalian cell growth – epithelial, fibroblast, macrophage, T cell, dendritic cell), real-time PCR and cytokine DNA microarray, SDS PAGE, ELISA, ELISPOT, cytotoxicity assays, animal and human sample handing and experiments, aseptic and sterile technique, report writing and paper editing and paper writing, working as a member of a team, research management.

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Oral Infection and Immunity

Key Contact

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

Department / Centre

Melbourne Dental School

Research Node

Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne,Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute

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