T Cell Biology Research Program

Lab head: Professor Barbara Fazekas de St. Groth
Location: Centenary Institute

The T Cell Biology Laboratory studies how the immune system is regulated, with a particular focus on how regulatory T cells and dendritic cells interact with CD4 T cells. We work in mouse models and with human samples.

Lab members: currently 3 post-docs and 5 PhD students
Funding: NHMRC
Research approach equipment: Transgenic mouse models Highly multiparametric flow cytometry CyTOF mass cytometry

How do regulatory T cells work? - a systems biology approach

Primary supervisor: Barbara Fazekas de St Groth


Tregs control many different aspects of the immune response. We have discovered a new and fundamental Treg function - control of the threshold for naiveT cell activation through modulation of CD80/86 expression by dendritic cells. We are now studying the molecular mechanism involved in such fine-tuning of peripheral immune responses. As part of these studies, we have performed RNA sequencing of flow sorted human conventional and regulatory T cells. Analysis of this deep sequencing data will serve as the basis of this project. In particular, splice variants of crucial Treg effector molecules such as CTLA-4 will form the major aim of the project.


The project will have 2 supervisors: Prof Barbara Fazekas, Head of T Cell Biology at Centenary Institute, and Dr Will Richie, Head of Bioinformatics at Centenary Institute. Although no previous programming or bioinfomatics experience is required, the student will need both an interest in, and a talent for, computing, as most of the year will be spent in front of a computer. The project will also involve some flow cytometry and tissue culture of human Treg cells, to generate more material for sequencing.

Discipline: Infectious diseases and Immunology
Co-supervisors: William Richie
Keywords: Bioinformatics, Immune tolerance, T-cells