Modulation of parasite recognition and engulfment during innate immunity

FUNDING: 9 weeks (full time, 37 hrs per week, £10.57 per hour, £650 consumables)
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LOCATION: University of York, UK

Dr. Ioannis Kourtzelis, Hull York Medical School

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Leishmania infections have been associated with chronic destructive inflammation and increased rates of morbidity and mortality. Myeloid cells, including macrophages and neutrophils, are key host cells for Leishmania parasites and failure to kill them can cause myeloid cells to induce tissue damage. Infection of myeloid cells occurs via phagocytosis and commonly involves the complement type 3 receptor (CD11b/CD18). However, despite the advances in the study of host-pathogen interactions, the role of phagocytosis in shaping immunoregulation during leishmaniasis remains ill-defined. We have identified a multifunctional protein that interacts with integrins, including CD11b/CD18, and acts as a novel regulator of phagocytosis. The aim of this project is to unravel the role of this protein during phagocytosis of Leishmania. The student will learn tissue culture and expose mouse myeloid cells to the protein of interest prior to co-culture with parasite or parasite-infected cells in order to assess phagocytosis and cell activation using fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry. State-of-the-art live cell imaging will be used to provide real time quantitative monitoring of myeloid cells. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2023.