PhD studentship in Queens University Belfast

How does Klebsiella pneumoniae control inflammasome activation?

Come and help us figure it out!

A fully funded PhD opportunity open to international applicants at the Welcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast with Prof Jose Bengoechea and Dr Rebecca Coll.

For more details:

Project Summary: Microbial infection triggers assembly of inflammasome complexes that promote caspase-1–dependent antimicrobial responses. This project will dissect how the antibiotic resistant pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae evades inflammasome activation to overcome host restriction during pneumonia. The project bridges molecular microbiology and immunology and leverages state-of-the-art in vivo models and human iPSC cells.

Inflammasome activation and subsequent production of caspase-1–dependent cytokines is important for both innate and adaptive antimicrobial responses, as IL-1 family cytokines released upon inflammasome activation promote neutrophil migration to infected tissues and drive TH17 and TH1 responses against mucosal pathogens. How bacteria evade the activation of inflammasomes is still poorly understood.

K. pneumoniae is recognized as a global threat to human health due to multidrug resistant strains. We lack a complete understanding of the strategies deployed by Klebsiella to avoid our immune defences. In this project, we will expose how the pathogen counteracts the activation of inflammasomes to limit inflammation. The project builds up upon exciting data showing that Klebsiella does not activate the NLRP3 inflammasome like many other pathogens, but specifically the AIM2 inflammasome (Feriotti bioRxiv 2021). The project has four aims: (i) to dissect Klebsiella-governed NLRP3 inhibition; (ii) to delineate the basis of AIM2 activation; (iii) to identify how Klebsiella activates inflammasomes in human cells; and (iv) to demonstrate the role of inflammasomes in host defense against Klebsiella.

The successful candidate will join the Bengoechea and Coll laboratories at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine and will acquire unique skills assessing the microbial-host pathogen interface including single-cell approaches leveraging cellular microbiology, imaging, and mass cytometry techniques.

To Apply: Informal inquires contact: or DM @Rebecca_Coll on Twitter

Status: Accepting applications.

Start date: October 2022

Deadline: 14th March 2022

More details here:

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