The role of the proteolytic microenvironment in T cell migration and T cell activation

A PhD project supported by The Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund is available in 2016 under the supervision of Associate Professor Nigel Birch and Professor Rod Dunbar to investigate the role of proteases in human T cell migration and activation.

The continuous recirculation of immune cells between blood and lymph nodes is essential for immune responses. The homing of T cells to lymph nodes is the first step in the generation of adaptive immune responses. Naïve lymphocytes enter lymph nodes through specialised blood vessels called high endothelial venules (HEVs). Within the specialised environment of the lymph node antigen-specific T cells migrate to locate antigen presenting cells such as dendritic cells (DCs) and if they recognise the antigen presented by the DC an immune response is initiated. This project explores new ideas on how proteases, protease inhibitors and protease receptors regulate the movement and interactions of human T cells to enable an immune response.

Criteria for successful applicant:
We are looking for a candidate with an outstanding academic record, a strong background in biochemistry and/or cell biology, a passion for cellular immunology and a desire to work in a multi-disciplinary collaborative environment. Eligible candidates will have completed an Honours or Masters degree. Candidates will be expected to secure a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship for stipend support.

Other information:
Applications should be emailed to Dr Nigel Birch and include your CV, academic transcript, names and contact details of two referees and a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the project and outlining any relevant experience.