PhD student position studying cellular immunity

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PhD student position studying cellular immunity

Postby mwabdn » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:03 am

BBSRC 4 year PhD position studying the Drosophila cellular immune response at the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland

Applicants holding or expecting to obtain at least an Upper Second Class degree in Cell biology or a related subject should send their CV and the names and addresses to two referees to Michael J. Williams (

For more information go to the following website:

Candidates must be eligible for UK/EU fee status (EU students MUST have been in the UK for at least three years prior to commencement of studentship) and should hold a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree, a Masters degree or an equivalent qualification.

Drosophila cellular immune response against parastization
Research in the last ten years has led to significant breakthroughs providing evidence of a high degree of similarity between the insect and mammalian innate immune responses and highlighted Drosophila as a model system for studying the evolution of haematopoiesis. Endoparasitoid wasps are major challengers of insect immunity since they develop in the body cavity of their host. In Drosophila, the immune defence against parasitisation is the encapsulation of the parasitoid egg that involves two main circulating immune surveillance cell-types: plasmatocytes and lamellocytes. Plasmatocytes, Drosophila's equivalent to the mammalian monocyte/macrophage lineage, attach to the parasitoid egg and spread around it. Next, lamellocytes, which are rarely seen in healthy larvae, adhere to the plasmatocytes to form multiple cell layers. Adhesion and cell shape changes are thus an essential part of the encapsulation response, which can then be viewed as an in vivo model for adhesion of immune cells in mammals.

Research aims

a)To determine which Rho-family GTPases, as well as their known regulators and effectors, are involved in regulating the
Drosophila anti-parasite cellular immune response.

b)To discover novel genes and pathways in hemocytes regulated by Rho-family GTPases.

c)To assign genes discovered as being involved in the Drosophila anti-parasite response to specific cellular pathways.

This is an exciting project that has already yielded important publications. Furthermore, the PhD student will have the opportunity to pursue some of the research in either Grenoble or Nice, France.
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