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Postgraduate research project

How do neutrophils alter T cell metabolism?

Fully funded (UK only)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Closing date

About the project

This project will examine how the innate and adaptive immune systems interact, through analysis of how neutrophils affect the metabolism of nearby T cells. The student will use flow cytometry, RNA sequencing, ELISA, Seahorse metabolic analysis and fluorescence imaging to understand this question.

Neutrophils are the first responders to inflammatory disease and are present in huge numbers in blood and tissues. During disease they interact closely with T cells, which alters the T cell survival and function. We have previously shown, for the first time, that human T cells respond to neutrophils differently depending on their activation status (Minns Frontiers Immunology 2021). We have also shown that neutrophil release of antimicrobial peptides profoundly affects T cell cytokine production (Minns Nature Communications 2021).

Now, we want to understand how neutrophil exposure alters T cell metabolism. The metabolic profiles of T cells exposed to neutrophils, or their peptides, will be studied and the impact of alterations on T cell behaviour will be determined. You will use techniques including multi-colour and spectral flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, ELISA, isolation and culture of T cells and Seahorse metabolic analysis. Animal handling and in vivo models of disease will be involved in the project. You will be fully trained in all these techniques as well as in:

  • statistics
  • coding
  • presentation skills
  • writing skills
  • data management

You will be based for the majority of the time at Southampton General Hospital, with Dr Gwyer Findlay, but up to 8 weeks each year will be spent at the University of Birmingham with Dr Sarah Dimeloe. All expenses relating to travel, accommodation and subsistence in Birmingham will be covered in full in addition to the stipend.