Epithelial pattern recognition and control of innate immune responses against human fungal pathogens
Self funded project
1st Supervisor: Dr Julian Naglik
2nd Supervisor: Professor Stephen Challacombe
Description of project
Immune responsiveness to microorganisms is dependent on different families of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), particularly toll-like receptors, which are the major innate recognition system for microbes in vertebrates. PRR responses must be highly regulated to prevent immune over-reactivity or to maintain homeostasis, and this is achieved through a series of adapter and intermediate signalling molecules and ultimately transcription factors. We hypothesise that oral epithelial tissues possess unique PRR-mediated recognition mechanisms that control innate immunity against mucosal fungal pathogens.
To identify these epithelial PRR-mediated recognition mechanisms and to determine their functional roles in orchestrating protective mucosal responses to the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans.
Key Goals will include:
(i) determining how Candida pathogens stimulate epithelial cells at different mucosal sites
(ii) the identification of PRRs, adapters and regulators that enable epithelial cells to discriminate between the different morphological forms of this pathogenic fungus, and
(iii) deciphering the epithelial cell mechanisms that induce protective mucosal responses in vivo.
This project has the potential to determine how epithelial cells drive mucosal immunity to protect against mucosal fungal infections.
Duration of project: 3 years
Contact for further information:
Dr Julian Naglik
Research Topic: Mucosal Immunology & Oral Medicine
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