Identification of how vitamin A alters distinct B lymphocyte niches in the bone marrow

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research
Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Dr Gavin Tjim
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Louise Purton Personal web page

Project Details

Vitamin A deficiency has a significant impact on our health. With respect to blood cells, the most life-threatening consequence of vitamin A deficiency is impaired immune function. Worldwide, approximately 250 million preschool children are vitamin A deficient, and up to 10% of these children will die due to their inability to effectively fight infection as a direct consequence of vitamin A deficiency.

By use of different knockout mice of the vitamin A receptors, we have shown that one of the vitamin A receptors, retinoic acid receptor gamma (RAR) is the major vitamin A receptor that regulates B lymphopoiesis in mice. Furthermore, we have also shown that the regulation of B lymphopoiesis by RAR occurs through distinct non-blood-forming cells in the bone marrow, collectively termed bone marrow microenvironment cells. These bone marrow microenvironment cells include cells that form bone and cells that form blood vessels. Deletion of RAR in different bone-forming cells and endothelial cells results in different effects on distinct developmental stages of B lymphocytes in mice. These phenotypes will help us to identify how B lymphocyte development is regulated by different microenvironment cells in the bone marrow.

The aims of this Honours project are to identify the different bone marrow microenvironments that regulate B lymphocyte production in mice. Using 7 colour Opal multiplexing we will define where the different developing B lymphocytes are located within the bone marrow microenvironment in wildtype and microenvironment-specific RAR conditional knockout mice. We will also isolate the osteoblast lineage and endothelial cell types from these mice using flow cytometry (FACS) and identify changes in regulators of B lymphocytes in these cells.

These studies will involve FACS and a range of different techniques used in blood cell biology, including in vitro cultures, immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence, molecular biology (quantitative real-time PCR).

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

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.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Node

St Vincent's Institute of Medical Research

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