The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Role of MAIT cells in viral/bacterial co-infection

McCluskey group

MAIT cells are highly abundant and play important immune roles in bacterial infection, barrier function and tissue repair. MAIT cells are also activated in a TCR independent manner by viruses such as influenza A virus and may play a role in protection. However, they also have been reported to decline in number, and appear exhausted, in the blood following viral infections.

Using innovative tools and mouse models we have established, this project will address the direct and indirect impact of viral infection on MR1 antigen presentation and MAIT cell function. Viral/bacterial co-infections are highly clinically important, but the complexity of the immune response is poorly understood. Therefore, this project it will also assess the effect of viral infection on concurrent and subsequent MAIT cell activation through bacterial infection or MAIT cell targeted vaccination schemes. The project will involve in vitro assays, flow cytometry and mouse experiments.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Zhenjun Chen
Dr Alexandra Corbett

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Huimeng Wang

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

McCluskey group

4 vacancies

Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections
Host Pathogens Interactions
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Translational and Clinical Research

The McCluskey group is an internationally-leading laboratory in mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cell research, having made significant breakthrough discoveries in MAIT cell immunity. These include identifying the antigens recognised by MAIT cells and the associated development of tetramers to characterise MAIT cells (patented). The McCluskey group has also developed human in vitro and in vivo models to understand MAIT cell function and the role of MAIT cells as part of the immune system. In addition, the group has deep expertise in biochemistry, including MAIT cell ligand discovery by mass spectrometry and cellular immunology, allowing to comprehensively address big picture research questions.