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: Understanding the role of MAIT cells in immune-mediated pathology

McDevitt group

There are very few studies that have definitively determined a role for MAIT cells in immune pathologies, such as allergies and inflammatory diseases. We have previously identified drug metabolites that stimulate MAIT cells and now want to understand if drug and other metabolites cause hypersensitivities, allergies or inflammatory conditions. In collaboration with clinicians, we have access to samples from several cohorts of patients. Based on in vitro stimulation assays with the relevant metabolites in healthy donors and patient samples, we seek to establish if MAIT cells can mediate allergic reactions. This also builds on the group’s previous work in drug hypersensitivities mediated by conventional T cells. Human clinical data will be complemented with in vitro human cell line model systems and potentially characterisation of the TCR recognition event at a molecular level using surface plasmon resonance and X-ray crystallography, together with collaborators.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Sidonia Eckle, Dr Lars Kjer-Nielsen, Dr Alexandra Corbett

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.