Tuberculosis Research Program

Lab head: Professor Warwick Britton
Location: Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology

Lab members: Dr Manuela Florido: Vaccine deveelopment and interaction of influenza and tuberculosis Dr Mainthain Palendira: Human cancer viral immunology
Funding: NHMRC
Research approach equipment: T cell responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and viruses in humans and during murine tuberculosis. Vaccine development and experimental tuberculosis infection. Macrophage responses to infection Immunogenetics: genetic susceptibility to Tuberculosis Drug development against mycobacteria

Mechanisms that control effector and memory T cell responses in humans

Primary supervisor: Warwick Britton

Cytotoxic T cells play a crucial role in controlling viral infections and cancers. The differentiation of these cells into effector cells and the acquisition of effector molecules is regulated by transcription factors. Studies done in animal models have identified the key transcription factors that regulate effective cytotoxic T cell responses against viral infections. There is however, limited information on which transcription factors regulate human T cell differentiation and function.  A greater understanding of the mechanisms that regulate human T cell responses is essential for the development of more effective therapies and vaccines.

This project will aim to characterize the transcription factors that are crucial for the development of effector cells and memory cells in humans. The work will involve the study of different virus-specific T cells and the key transcription factors that regulate their functions. Using human herpes viral infections as models of chronic viral infections and influenza infection as an acute viral infection, the project aims to unravel the mechanisms that control effective T cell responses in humans.

The project will be undertaken in the Human Cancer Viral Immunology group under the supervision of Prof Warwick Britton and Dr Mainthan Palendira. The project will give opportunity to learn several cellular and molecular techniques. These include identification of virus-specific cells with soluble peptide-MHC complexes, extensive tissue culture work, flow cytometry, cytotoxicity assays, siRNA silencing of gene expression & RT-PCR.

Discipline: Infectious diseases and Immunology
Co-supervisors: Mainthan Palendira
Keywords: Immunology, Virology, Cancer