Targeting cell death pathways in tissue-resident immune cells to correct metabolic and gastrointestinal disease

Project type

  • PhD
  • Masters by Coursework
  • Honours

Project details

FoxP3+ regulatory cells (Tregs) and innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are specialized immune cells critical for maintaining tolerance and promoting tissue repair in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). GIT resident immune cells must simultaneously maintain tolerance to foreign bodies such as food and the microbiome, and remain poised to attack dangerous pathogens. Diverse “flavours” of Tregs and ILCs are required to co-exist in the GIT in controlled numbers to maintain this delicate balance. We have found that one “flavour” of Tregs in the GIT is exquisitely sensitive to a unique form of cell death termed necroptosis. This project will leverage this finding to explore the programmed cell death processes regulating Treg and ILC homeostasis in the GIT and understand their function during health and disease. We will combine multi-parameter flow cytometry, single cell technologies and state-of-the-art imaging with in vivo models of inflammation to answer these questions.

About our research group

Our team is located within the Immunology Division that combines molecular immunology, in vivo models of inflammation and human immunology to address key questions in the field.
The Gray lab investigates the molecular control of cell death processes shaping immune cell homeostasis. Our recent discoveries have elucidated the molecular control of Treg cell survival, offering the possibility to target these pathways in disease. Our understanding of cell-death process is now extended to tissue-resident Tregs.

Our team is composed of highly collaborative passionate post-doctoral scientists, research assistants and PhD students with diverse backgrounds. We have expertise in state-of the art imaging, blood cancer biology, multi-dimensional flow cytometry and mucosal immunology. We provide a unique, collaborative environment and opportunity to develop diverse skill-sets and make impactful discoveries.

(Rankin, Cell Reports 2023 42(112135))
(Rankin, Cell, 2018 173: 554)
(Teh, Sci Immunol 2022 69(7): 69)
(Peirson, Nat Immunol 2013 14(9): 959)

Education pathways