Mycobacterial Research Programme

Lab head: Dr Bernadette Saunders
Location: Centenary Institute

Characterisation of the 15-15 mouse strain in host defence against intracellular pathogens.

Primary supervisor: Bernadette Saunders

Diseases caused by intracellular pathogens, such as tuberculosis and Listeria, are major caused of mortality worldwide. A better understanding of the factors that regulate immunity to these pathogens is urgently required to aid in the rational design of new treatment options. We have recently identified a new strain of ENU mutanised mice that are highly susceptible to mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. We have generated homozygous mice that carry this susceptibility profile but have not yet had a chance to characterise this strain of mice.


Aim: This project will examine the mechanisms underlying the susceptibility of the 15-15 mouse strain to intracellular infection.


This will examine the response of macrophages and neutrophils to infection with intracellular pathogens including M.bovisbcg and Listeria monocytogenes. It will measure the phagocytic response of these cells, their cytokine and chemokine induction, antibacterial activity including induction of nitric oxide, reactive oxygen species and apoptosis. The capacity of macrophages and dendritic cells to respond to TLR stimulation will be determined

In vivo we will infect mice with the acute intracellular pathogen Listeria to examine the response to this acute intracellular pathogen, looking at capacity to control bacterial growth, T cell activation, inflammation and macrophage activation.

The project will use a variety of techniques including, analysis of mice, flow cytometry, ELISA, biological assays, immunohistochemistry, bacterial growth assays, 

This project will give an honours student experience in both cellular and molecular techniques. Including, isolation and growth of human and murine macrophages, animal handling and infection, measurement of bacterial growth and analysis of cell activation through; confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, ELISA, biological assays measuring macrophage activation and changes in gene expression using QRT-PCR.

Discipline: Infectious diseases and Immunology

Contact: Bernadette Saunders

Email :

Discipline: Infectious diseases and Immunology
Co-supervisors: Jennifer Huch
Keywords: Macrophages, T-cells, Infectious Diseases