Effects of nutrition on immunity and infection in Asia and Africa (Masters option available)

Effects of nutrition on immunity and infection in Asia and Africa (Masters option available)

Project details

Our group works on basic, translational, clinical and public health aspects of anaemia control. Malnutrition incurs an enormous burden of disease in low income countries; it may also impair immune responses to infection (Pasricha Blood 2013 121(14):2607-17). We undertake randomised controlled trials of nutrition interventions (e.g. iron supplementation, micronutrient supplements, intravenous iron) in Bangladesh and Malawi, and has access to samples from other trials from across the world.

In this project the student will optimise and apply cutting-edge immunologic and molecular techniques (e.g. flow cytometry, CyTOF, RNA-Sequencing, rRNA sequencing, luminex, and genetic analysis) to discern effects on the immune system. There will be opportunities to visit trial sites to gain experience in fieldwork in low income settings. The student will also learn techniques for statistical analysis of data using multilevel modelling. 

About our research group

We combine basic experimental science with research in global health. In the laboratory, we study how the master controller of systemic iron homoestasis, hepcidin, is regulated. We are using novel epigenetic approaches to characterise new pathways which may regulate hepcidin gene expression. In addition, we are studying mechanisms by which erythropoiesis and anaemia may affect hepcidin expression.

In the field, we are undertaking large randomized controlled trials of iron interventions in rural Bangladesh (infants) and Malawi (pregnant women). These trials will provide much needed evidence to inform global health anaemia control policies. Samples from these trials will be available for analysis using cutting edge platforms including 16S rRNA gene sequencing for microbiota, CyTOF and flow cytometry, and molecular charactersation eg using high throughput RNA sequencing. Finally, we assist and advise international and national organisations with research and policy development.

 

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