Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science Without Borders) PI name & contact details: Dr. Kevin Kavanag Department of Biology, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland. Has project been agreed with head (or Yes nominee) of proposed registration school? Research Centre / group affiliation: Medical Mycology Research group / centre website: PI website / link to CV: http://biology.nuim.ie/staff/kkmed.shtml PAC CODE FOR ONLINE APPLICATION Brief summary of PI research / research group / centre activity
1. Understanding the interaction of fungal pathogens with host tissue and how fungi can alter
2. Proteomic and molecular characterisation of response of fungi to oxidative and anti-fungal
3. Development of novel strategies for control of fungal infection.
Title & brief description of PhD project
Characterisation of the interaction of Fungal-Bacterial Complex (F-BC) with the pulmonary immune response.
The filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus is an important secondary co-pathogen of patients affected by cystic fibrosis (CF) or asthma, and may kill up to 3% of all patients who die in hospitals. The fungus can grow in the mucous secretions in the CF lung and secrete toxins and allergens that provoke an allergic response. In the lung A. fumigatus interacts with other pathogens such as the bacteria Pseudomonas, Burkhoderia and Pandoraea and this fungal-bacterial complex (F-BC) facilitates the growth of both sets of pathogens in the lung and the deterioration of pulmonary function. This project will: (1) Characterise the virulence of A. fumigatus, Pseudomonas, Burkholderia and Pandoraea, alone and in combination, and establish how each can alter the virulence of the other pathogen(s), (2) Examine the interaction of the F-BC with the innate immune response and determine how fungi and bacteria work synergistically to suppress the pulmonary immune response, (3) Examine how the F-BC interacts with A549 cells which are an excellent model for the epithelial lining of the lung (4) Characterise the proteomic and molecular changes that occur in host cells when exposed to the F-BC, (5) Examine how antifungal agents (e.g. amphotericin B, caspofungin, itraconazole) used to control A. fumigatus in the lung affect the virulence of bacterial co-pathogens. Deliverable: This project has the potential to increase our understanding of how fungi and bacteria interact together in the lung to increase their ability to colonise and degrade tissue. It will allow us to uncover novel ways to minimize this interaction and to develop new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of microbial infections in CF and asthmatic patients.
Unique selling points of PhD project in NUIM: The Medical Mycology Unit at NUI Maynooth has an international reputation for the excellene of its research into the interaction of fungal pathogens with host tissue. The Department of Biology has all of the equipment and facilities necessary for the successful completion of this project. The student will receive training in a wide range of biochemical, cellular, proteomic (LC/MS) and molecular (PCR, qPCR) techniques essential for the development and progress of this project. In addition the postgraduate student wil join an active research group which is committed to characterising the interaction of microbes with human tissue. Name & contact details for project queries, if different from PI named above: Dr Kevin Kavanagh (email@example.com) Please indicate the graduates of which disciplines that should apply: BSc/MSc in any of the fol owing: Microbiology, Immunology, Cel Biology or Biology. Ciência sem Fronteiras / Science Without Borders Priority Area: Engineering and other technological areas
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