Student research project
Supervisor(s): Professor Andrew Murphy and Dr Graeme Lancaster
Identify ways to manipulate specific lipids to alter cell function in disease.
Over the past few years we have generated a new and exciting data set profiling the lipid compositions (lipidome) of 16 different human immune cells and the major mouse immune cell equivalents. This revealed striking diversity between various immune cells, particularly between the innate and adaptive immune system.
We are now exploring two overall questions:
- Do specific lipids drive immune cell function?
- How do the lipidomes of immune cells form as they develop from stem cells.
The specific project can be focused on either of the two questions above.
This project will involve manipulating human and mouse immune cells in culture. Techniques to explore this question will be cell death assays via flow cytometry and assessment of lipid peroxidation by mass spectrometry. Mouse models will also be used to test this hypothesis in vivo and depending on the applicant (hons/PhD) will use mouse models to genetically modify the lipid composition or ferroptotic pathway of specific immune cells.
This project is suitable for a PhD or Honours student and will test the hypothesis that "Immune cells enriched in lipids that are sensitive to peroxidation undergo ferroptosis when exposed to ferroptotic agonists, while immune cells devoid in these lipids will be resistant".