Immune system dysfunction and epigenetic deficits underpinning the development of food allergy in children

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 Richard Saffery richard.saffery@mcri.edu.au 83416341 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Doctor Melanie Neeland Melanie.neeland@mcri.edu.au 83416200 Personal web page
Doctor Boris Novakovic boris.novakovic@mcri.edu.au 83416200

Summary This project will define the trajectory of immune system dysfunction and epigenetic deficits underlying the development of food allergy, using T cells and monocytes collected from the VITALITY childhood allergy clinical trial. Techniques include cell sorting, in vitro culture, DNA/RNA extractions, qPCR and bioinformatics analysis.

Project Details

Allergic diseases such as food allergy are among the most common chronic inflammatory disorders, arising from a complex interplay between genetic risk and early life environment. Now recognized as a major public health concern, much is still unknown about the extent of immune system disruption and underlying molecular mechanisms associated with food allergy development. This knowledge gap needs to be addressed if novel interventions are to be effectively targeted to those most at risk at the most effective time. The incidence of food allergy is increasing at a rate greater than changes to the DNA sequence could allow, demonstrating the role of the modern environment to alter the development of the immune system, most likely through epigenetic reprogramming. We have recently described deficits in monocytes, T cells and B cells in children with food allergy, with recent evidence implicating innate immune cells, such as monocytes as the primary drivers of this condition. To date, no analyses have been performed to test the hypothesis that monocytes are inherently 'programmed' in children with food allergy. This project will define the trajectory of immune system dysfunction and epigenetic deficits underlying the development of food allergy, using T cells and monocytes collected from the VITALITY childhood allergy clinical trial. Techniques include cell sorting, in vitro culture, DNA/RNA extractions, qPCR and bioinformatics analysis. The results of this study will be included in future publications.



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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