Liver Immunology and Metabolism

Lab head: Jacob George and Saeed Esmaili
Location: Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Australia is among the countries with the fastest growing rates of overweight and obesity, which by 2025 will affect >70% of the population. Chronic diseases linked to obesity include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and fatty liver. In all these diseases, the metabolic milieu is characterized by low-grade inflammation that is ultimately modulated by nutrient intake. Macrophages play a pivotal role in this obesity-mediated inflammation. Our recent work suggests that cholesterol in the diet can change the homeostasis of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in the bone marrow. These cells can we believe, subsequently differentiate to inflammatory cells with subsequent secretion of cytokines required for cancer cell growth. This project will investigate the mechanisms by which the cholesterol content of the diet affects the function of the bone marrow stem cell that eventually leads to liver inflammation and cancer. The study will involve multi-color flow cytometric detection of progenitor and inflammatory cells in different organs, and will also be suitable for an Honors project or PhD studies.

Lab members: Saeed Esmaili, 2 Post Docs, 3 Phd students, 1 Masters student
Funding: Robert W. Storr Bequest, NHMRC Program and Project grants
Research approach equipment: Full state of the art facilities available at WIMR

Career record of 348 publications and citation index of >25,000

Understanding the functional mechanisms of tissue fibrosis risk variants

Primary supervisor: Jacob George

PhD or Masters or Honours

There remain many challenges in the post-genome wide association study (GWAS) era, including filling the gaps between GWAS discovery and causality, understanding the functional basis of genetic polymorphisms and the translational impact of new discoveries. In this project we explore the functional mechanisms of novel fibrosis variants that we have identified at our Centre. This project will involve working with cell culture models and small animals.

Discipline: Applied Medical Sciences, Westmead
Keywords: Liver fibrosis, Genomics