Investigating mucosal and systemic immune responses to bacteria

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
2
Department
Melbourne Dental School
Location
Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute,Melbourne Dental School
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Neil O'Brien-Simpson neil.obs@unimelb.edu.au 8344 2572 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr James Holden jholden@unimelb.edu.au 9341 1567 Personal web page
Dr Jason Lenzo jlenzo@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Summary The initial interaction of bacteria and bacterial products with mucosal tissue and the immune response induced are fundamental to bacterial infection and disease. We are offering a number of projects investigating mucosal and systemic immune responses to bacteria.

Project Details

We are focused on investigating how antibiotic susceptible and resistant bacteria differ in their interactions and what materials they produce (e.g. outer membrane vesicles, OMVs) to aid infection. We are also interested in discovering how oral bacteria interact with the host to cause disease and how they associated with systemic conditions (e.g. oral, pancreatic and bowel cancer).

We have already found that there is synergy between pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria in causing disease and immunopathology. We are offering a number of projects investigating:

  1. mucosal and systemic immune responses to single and multi-bacterial species infection;
  2. what and how bacterial factors such as OMVs interact with immune cells;
  3. how bacteria effect immune cell trafficking into the mucosa and the effect of infection by multiple bacteria;
  4. how OMVs aid 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,
  • aseptic technique,
  • bacteriology and microbiological techniques,
  • tissue culture,
  • real-time PCR and cytokine DNA microarray,
  • SDS PAGE,
  • ELISA,
  • ELISPOT,
  • cytotoxicity assays,
  • animal and human sample handing and experiments,
  • report writing,
  • paper editing/writing,
  • working as a member of a team, and
  • research management.

Research Publications

  • Cecil JD*^, O’Brien-Simpson NM, Lenzo JC, Holden JA, Perez-Gonzalez A, Mansell A, Reynolds EC. Outer membrane vesicles prime and activate macrophage inflammasomes and cytokine secretion in vitro and in vivo. Frontiers in Immunology (2017) 8:1017.
  • Holden J, O'Brien-Simpson NM, Lenzo J, Orth R*^, Mansell A, Reynolds EC. Porphyromonas gulae activates unprimed and gamma interferon-primed macrophages via the Pattern Recognition Receptors Toll-Like Receptor 2 (TLR2), TLR4, and NOD2. Infection and Immunity (2017) 85(9): e00282-17.
  • O’Brien-Simpson NM, Holden JA, Lenzo JC, et al. A therapeutic Porphyromonas gingivalis gingipain vaccine induces neutralising IgG1 antibodies that protect against experimental periodontitis. NPJ Vaccines (2016) 1:16022
  • Lam RS*^, O’Brien-Simpson NM, Holden JA, Lenzo JC, Fong SB*^, Reynolds EC. Unprimed, M1 and M2 macrophages differentially interact with Porphyromonas gingivalis. PLoS ONE (2016) 11(7):e0158629.

*Former Honours student; ^Former PhD student



Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology, Cancer

School Research Themes

Oral Infection and Immunity



Research Opportunities

Honours, 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.

Department

Melbourne Dental School

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Oral Biology Research Group

Research Node

Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute,Melbourne Dental School

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