Raising innate immunity to fight with severe infection

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Medicine and Radiology
Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr. Ben Gu ben.gu@florey.edu.au +61390356317 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof. James Wiley james.wiley@florey.edu.au +61383446386 Personal web page

Summary Explore a novel antibiotics-independent treatment for severe bacterial infection by raising innate phagocytosis ability with peptide drugs.

Project Details

Septic shock contributes to around 8000 deaths annually in Australia. Innate immunity is the first line of host (patient) defence against invading microorganisms. The most dangerous microorganisms are those resistant to antibiotics and in such situations, phagocytosis of these microorganisms by immune cells (such as neutrophils and monocytes) becomes the only line of defence.

Previously, we have found that copper binding proteins (e.g. ceruloplasmin) in serum are potent inhibitors of innate phagocytosis of non-opsonized bacteria. Our preliminary results show that chelation of copper with 1-5 mM tetraethylenepentamine (TEPA, a drug that binds to copper) can neutralize the inhibitory effect of serum thereby restoring innate resistance against bacteria. On the other hand, we have found certain peptides could significantly increase the innate phagocytosis ability. This project aims to study the in vitro effect of copper chelation and peptide drugs either alone or in combination, as well as in vivo therapeutic effect of boost innate immunity in a rabbit or sheep model of sepsis.

Techniques involved are animal (rabbit and sheep) handling, flow cytometry and protein separation.

Faculty Research Themes

Neuroscience, Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research
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

Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health

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