Developing a vaccine to protect children with cystic fibrosis from pathogenic infection

Research Opportunity
Honours
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 Phil Sutton phil.sutton@mcri.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Sarath Ranganathan Sarath.Ranganathan@rch.org.au Personal web page

Summary This project will study vaccines in a mouse model of M. abscessus infection and determine which provides the best protection. A key aim will be to use standard immunological techniques to identify the immune response induced by these vaccinations that protects against M. abscessus infection.

Project Details

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. CF disease begins in early life and is characterised by a reduced lung function that is related to infection with a number of opportunistic pathogens. These infections drive a chronic airway inflammation that results in pathological structural changes in the lung. In recent years a new lung pathogenic infection, Mycobacterium abscessus, has emerged as an important global threat to individuals with CF. M. abscessus are multidrug-resistant bacteria that are associated with poor clinical outcomes and for which treatment is extremely difficult. Treatment typically involves the long-term use of toxic agents, including the injection of antibiotics that are frequently associated with major side-effects such as deafness and kidney failure. M. abscessus infection can also prevent a CF patient from receiving a life-saving lung transplantation.

AIM: Given the above issues, we believe prevention through vaccination holds the best promise for these patients. The Aim of this project is therefore to identify a vaccine that has the potential to prevent infection with M. abscessus.

APPROACH: This project will study vaccines in a mouse model of M. abscessus infection and determine which provides the best protection. A key aim will be to use standard immunological techniques to identify the immune response induced by these vaccinations that protects against M. abscessus infection.

SIGNIFICANCE: Identifying a vaccine that protects against M. abscessus in the mouse model will guide future research aimed at developing a vaccine for protecting children with CF from this important pathogen.

The project will be supervised by Prof Sutton, who is an expert on vaccine development, especially against bacteria pathogens at mucosal surfaces, and Prof Sarath Ranganathan, who is Head of Respiratory Medicine at Royal Children's Hospital and an expert on CF.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



Research Opportunities

Honours
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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