Common infections in children and the risk of cardiovascular disease - a role for innate immune memory?

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Department
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor David Burgner david.burgner@mcri.edu.au 399366730 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Doctor Siroon Bekkering siroon.bekkering@mcri.edu.au
Doctor Melanie Neeland melanie.neeland@mcri.edu.au 383416493

Summary In a unique study (VASCular changes aFter INfectious Diseases, VASCFIND), we are currently measuring early cardiovascular changes in children with recent severe infection. In this project, we will measure the innate immune response of isolated and cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells samples from these children at several timepoints following infection to investigate if previous infection induces an 'immune memory' resulting in increased inflammation compared to controls.

Project Details

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in adults, but the underlying cause - 'hardening of the arteries' (atherosclerosis) - begins in childhood. Inflammation, a normal response to infection, may contribute to atherosclerosis. Infections are common and severe childhood infections predict adult cardiovascular disease. In a unique study (VASCular changes aFter INfectious Diseases, VASCFIND), we are currently measuring early cardiovascular changes in children with recent severe infection. We hypothesize that children will show adverse cardiovascular changes after infection compared to healthy controls. These will be correlated with changes in the innate immune response. In this project, we will measure the innate immune response of isolated and cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells samples from these children at several timepoints following infection to investigate if previous infection induces an 'immune memory' resulting in increased inflammation compared to controls. We will compare viral with bacterial infections and gram-positive vs gram-negative bacteria.      This project is appropriate for students with an interest in translational science, molecular biology, infection and immunology -  using techniques such as flow cytometry, monocyte isolation and culture as well as ELISA, chromatin immune-precipitation (ChIP), DNA and RNA extraction and real-time PCR. Training will be given, but some laboratory experience, interest and aptitude would be beneficial.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



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

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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