Inflammation in pregnancy and the induction of innate immune memory (as underlying mechanism of cardiovascular risk in adulthood)

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 Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in adults, is associated with systemic inflammation and is primarily caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). This project investigates how inflammation in pregnancy (associated with chorioamnionitis) could contribute to the early development of atherosclerosis by activating early immune responses.

Project Details

Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in adults, is associated with systemic inflammation and is primarily caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The process to atherosclerosis begins before birth and develops over decades into adulthood. The American Heart Association has stated that with early prevention, cardiovascular disease is "largely preventable". However, despite this, early life has been largely overlooked as an opportunity for prevention. This is particularly relevant to preterm infants, who are at increased cardiovascular risk as adults, through largely unclear mechanisms. This project investigates how inflammation in pregnancy (associated with chorioamnionitis) could contribute to the early development of atherosclerosis by activating early immune responses.     We will compare cells from preterm infants whose pregnancies were complicated by chorioamnionitis with matched healthy births. The inflammatory phenotype of cryopreserved cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMCs) and 18-month peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) will be examined by flow cytometry, ex vivo stimulation assays and RNA sequencing. In the event of differences in any of these processes, we will use Chromatin Immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing to study the long term epigenetic changes underlying the observed phenotypic differences.     This project is appropriate for students with an interest in translational science, molecular biology and immunology - using techniques such as flow cytometry, monocyte isolation and culture, 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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