Microbial flow cytometry; developing diagnostic tools for immune responses to bacteria, nano and micro materials and vesicles

Research Opportunity
Honours students
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Department / Centre
Melbourne Dental School
Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute,Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Neil O'Brien-Simpson neil.obs@unimelb.edu.au
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Jason Lenzo
Dr James Holden
Dr Alexis Gonzales

Summary Analysis of nano-materials and microbes using flow cytometry is a novel area of research.

Project Details

Analysis of nano-materials and microbes using flow cytometry is a novel area of research. A major issue in studying nano- and micro- particle interaction with mammalian cells or microbes or analysis of microorganisms by flow cytometry has been the sensitivities of the current flow cytometers. As part of the University’s Cytometry Platform the Melbourne Dental School node has developed methodologies to detect and resolve 100 nm particles, thus allowing detection of exosomes and outer membrane vesicles in biological fluids. The developed methodologies allowing the detection and sorting of mixed bacterial populations combined with the attuned level of sensitivity of instruments that we have acquired means that we will be able to analyse rare to very rare events in mammalian cells and microbes and for the first time be truly able to accomplish microbial flow cytometry. The projects on offer are in the development of nano- and micro flow cytometry assays for the detection, analysis and sorting of:

  1. bacteria-bacteria interactions,
  2. nanoparticle interactions with bacteria and/or mammalian cells,
  3. Bacterial outer membrane vesicle (OMV) interactions with bacteria and host cells,
  4. Isolation and identification of bacteria from mixed biofilm and biological samples,
  5. Isolation of exosomes, OMVs from biological samples and their identification.

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), peptide chemistry (FMOC synthesis), peptide and protein purification (FPLC, HPLC), SDS PAGE, ELISA, ELISPOT, cytotoxicity assays, animal and human sample handing and experiments, polymer chemistry, aseptic and sterile technique, report writing, 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

Research Opportunities

Honours students
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 / Centre

Melbourne Dental School

Research Node

Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute,Royal Dental Hospital Melbourne

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