Neighbours or self: what drives activation-induced macrophage heterogeneity?

FUNDING: 9 weeks (full time, 37 hrs per week, £12 per hour, £1000 consumables)
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Dr. Shoumit Dey, HYMS Kaye Lab, York

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Macrophages are a key immune cell that in response to infection and disease become activated heterogeneously. We will use cutting edge single-cell transcriptomic datasets (both ours and those publicly available) to understand this heterogeneity. Using integrated in vitro and in vivo datasets, we will tease out how much of this heterogeneity is inherently driven and what is due to tissue microenvironment (such as in liver, skin etc. from mouse models). Specifically, we will identify macrophage clusters across an antigen exposure timeline, both from cells cultured in vitro and chronically infected tissues to identify genes that are common and unique to these settings. We will confirm and complement our findings with additional protein studies and parasite staining to assess how an infective agent associates with activation-induced macrophage heterogeneity. Students will develop skills in R, single cell transcriptomics, immunohistochemistry (cutting, staining, and analysing tissue sections), and computational analysis using QuPath. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2024.