The regulatory CD4+ T cell is an anti-inflammatory immune cell with a critical role in preventing inappropriate inflammation in the skin. This is demonstrated by the observation that patients with dysfunctional regulatory T cells are commonly affected by spontaneous skin inflammation. However, the mechanisms whereby regulatory T cells maintain skin homeostasis remain poorly understood. Our laboratory has utilised intravital imaging of regulatory T cells in inflamed skin to demonstrate that induction of skin inflammation induces alterations in regulatory T cell migration that persist well after cessation of inflammation. We hypothesise that this increased migration is central to the ability of regulatory T cells to control inflammation, by enabling these cells to come into the proximity of and interact with the cellular targets of their regulatory function. The aim of this project will be to test this hypothesis by investigating the interactions of regulatory T cells with proinflammatory monocytes and macrophages in normal and inflamed skin, and the impact of these interactions on monocyte/macrophage-driven inflammation. This project will use state of the art in vivo microscopy techniques, including multi-photon microscopy of reporter mice for regulatory T cells and monocytes, to directly visualize the behaviour of these cells within the skin. The candidate will develop skills in models of skin inflammation, surgical procedures and intravital microscopy for immune cell imaging in the skin along with other techniques such as flow cytometry. This work will lead to an increased understanding of the basis of the actions of regulatory T cells in sites of peripheral inflammation.
inflammation, regulatory T cell, imaging, intravital microscopy, skin,
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health / Hudson Institute of Medical Research » Medicine - Monash Medical Centre
Top-up scholarship funding available
Monash Medical Centre Clayton