Location University of Newcastle, Hunter Medical Research Institute
Discipline
App. deadline Applications accepted year round/until filled
Funding
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Open to international applicants

PhD in Immunology - Understanding the role of group 2 innate lymphoid cells in the pathogenesis of kidney stones

Supervisors: Dr Malcolm Starkey (PhD), Dr Aniruddh Deshpande (MBBS, PhD), Dr Simon Jiang (MBBS, PhD) and Prof. Phil Hansbro (PhD)

Location: Hunter Medical Research Institute, John Hunter Hospital, New Lambton Heights

Description: Kidney stones are a common urinary tract problem that disproportionally affects men. Stones can cause obstructions in the urinary system and are a significant risk factor for development of chronic kidney disease. Current treatments focus on removal of the stones, often with multiple invasive procedures. There is a lack in understanding of the reasons why stones reoccur and the reasons why individuals with stones are at increased risk of developing chronic disease. Therefore, there is a clear need for novel approaches to prevent stone recurrence and their deleterious consequences. This project aims to improve our understanding of how our immune system protects against stone recurrence and its role in preventing long-term consequences such as impaired kidney function. Specifically, we aim to determine the role of group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) in this process. To do this we will; 1: Determine the relative proportion of ILC2s in the blood and urine of patients with cystinuria and other kidney stone diseases, 2: replicate genetic variants identified in patients with cystinuria using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to generate novel mice that spontaneously develop cystinuria. 3: Determine the functional role of ILC2s in stone recurrence, restoration of normal urinary tract function and onset of chronic disease, 4: establish new clinical guidelines for kidney stone prevention and management. Collectively, this project will provide valuable new insights into how immune cells contribute to stone recurrence and chronic kidney disease and identify strategies to promote optimal immune responses and repair of this vital organ system.

Scholarship Value: $26,682 p.a. (2017 rate), indexed in January each year. The scholarship is for a period of three years, with the possibility of a six-month extension.

Minimum eligibility criteria: GPA of at least 5.25 out of 7, English Proficiency, Honours Class One or equivalent (e.g. relevant masters degree). Please provide academic transcripts and qualifications.

Candidate: Interest and experience in Immunology and or nephrology. Laboratory experience and experience working with experimental animal models.



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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Dr Malcolm Starkey
+61 2 40420204