Pathogenic mechanisms involved in bacterial meningitis

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We will study the roles of inflammatory agents and immune cells in the pathogenesis of bacterial meningitis using a model system.


Professor Nicholas Hunt

Research Location

Camperdown - School of Medical Sciences - Bosch Institute

Program Type



We will study the roles of inflammatory agents and immune cells in the pathogenesis of bacterial meningitis using a mouse model. Bacterial meningitis is a potentially lethal disease encountered both in developed and developing countries. In Western countries, there are three age-related peaks in prevalence of bacterial meningitis: in infants, in adolescence, and in people over the age of 60. Several different types of bacteria can cause this complication. The term meningitis means inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain. Often there is swelling of brain tissue due to fluid leaving the blood and entering the tissue. Because the skull prevents more than a very small expansion of size of the brain, this swelling can have serious affects on brain function that can quickly cause death. We have developed a model of this disease in mice. This allows us to investigate the importance of various factors by using gene knockout mice, in which the genes producing the proteins of interest have been silenced. In this project, the role of various inflammatory mediators will be tested using gene knockout mice or chemicals or antibodies that interfere with their production or actions.

Additional Information

Approaches: in vivo studies, molecular biology, biochemistry, pathology, physiology, immunology. Techniques: immunohistochemistry, microscopy, quantitative RT-PCR, ELISA. Other Information: Nick Hunt’s laboratory is in the newly-refurbished Medical Foundation Building. The equipment and other facilities in the building are first class, as are the other research groups located there. His research group contains 3 postdoctoral fellows, 2 PhD students and a part-time technician. The laboratory is well-funded by two National Health and Medical Research Council, one Australian Research Council, and one Sir Zelman Cowen Foundation grant in 2009. Scholarships: Laboratory-funded scholarships may be available for suitably-qualified candidates.

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meningitis, bacterial meningitis, inflammation, oedema, cytokines, brain, Brain & nervous system disorders, Infectious diseases, Infection & immunity, Neuroscience & psychology

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 110

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