The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

EDUCATION

Research Projects

Project: Neural regulation of anti-cancer immunity

McDevitt group

Tissues are innervated by fibres of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which release SNS neurotransmitters during stress. SNS neurotransmitters bind to adrenoceptors (ARs) on multiple cell types to induce genomic and functional changes. Studies have shown that immunity is compromised during times of stress, raising the possibility that SNS signalling impairs immune cell functions. However, little is known about the mechanisms of SNS neurotransmitter signalling on the cells of the immune system. We have discovered that adrenergic receptor signalling inhibits the migration of immune cells within tissues, and impacts protective immunity against infections and cancer. This project will investigate sympathetic innervation of tumours and how neural signals impact immune responses in the tumour microenvironment in order to design new therapies to treat cancer.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Associate Professor Scott Mueller

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Sapna Devi

Project availability
PhD/MPhil
Master of Biomedical Science
Honours

McDevitt group

christopher.mcdevitt@unimelb.edu.au

2 vacancies

Themes
Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections
Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research

Metal ions are essential for cellular chemistry in every cell in all forms of life. Research in the McDevitt group seeks to understand the role of metal ions in bacteria and how they influence host-pathogen interactions. Our specific research interests are: to understand how bacteria acquire essential metal ions from the environment; characterise the cellular roles of metal ions in bacteria; and elucidate the role of metal ions at host-pathogen interface. By understanding the chemical biology of bacteria, our work opens the way to developing novel antimicrobials to starve invading pathogens of crucial trace elements.