Unraveling dendritic cell differentiation and function through single-cell technologies

Project type

  • PhD and Graduate Research Masters
  • Honours

Project details

Dendritic cells (DCs) play a crucial role in safeguarding our body against infections and cancer. They diligently patrol our system, identifying the presence of pathogens or cancerous cells. Once detected, they activate T cells, enabling the elimination of these threats. However, various types of DCs exist, each possessing distinct functional properties that impact the overall immune response.

Acknowledging the significance of DCs in controlling infections and tumor growth and their diversity, our research team aims to better understand, at the single cell level,

  1. the development of these cells from stem cells and
  2. how they acquire specific functions, both in healthy conditions and during perturbations (inflammation or cancer).

This project will lead to not only a better comprehension of our immune response but also generate novel approaches to harness the power of DCs in future cell therapies.

Depending on their interest and the scientific question, the student will develop skills in cell culture, flow cytometry, genetic manipulation technic (CRISPR), lineage-tracing and single-cell technologies.

About our research group

The Naik lab is a very technology-driven lab with the philosophy that studying single cells at different functional and molecular levels, and integrating this information, will reveal the mechanisms behind their fate specification in health and disease. Our biological interests are focused on haematopoiesis with a particular interest in the development of the dendritic cell subtypes of the immune system.

The Naik team both adopt and develop new technologies including cellular barcoding for clonal lineage tracing, as well as single cell ‘multi-omics’. Depending on interests and skills, students in the lab are encouraged and supported in learning both the laboratory techniques to generate new data, as well as the computational tools to analyse and interpret the results.

Education pathways