Immune related memory in liver disease

Applications are currently being accepted for a 3 year PhD project to study the role of immune related memory viral and autoimmune hepatitis at Western Sydney University Blacktown and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. The project will be conducted in the research group of Professor Golo Ahlenstiel and will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.

Immunological memory defines the ability of the immune system to (1) rapidly and specifically recognize an antigen that the body has been previously exposed to and (2) initiate a highly specific immune response. Traditionally, immune related memory is attributed to the adaptive immune response, i.e. T cells and B cells through cytokine release, direct cellular toxicity via antibodies. Natural killer (NK) cells are usually considered part of the innate immune system and considered not to be antigen-specific. However, recent publications suggest that NK cells can, under certain conditions, express memory-like features.

Using state-of-the-art techniques including flow cytometery and CyTOF in in vitro (organoid) and in vivo models (human and mouse), this projects will examine the role of memory-like NK cells in acute and chronic infection as well as autoimmune context with a focus on liver disease to assess their role in pathogenesis, disease progression in liver disease as well as their therapeutic potential in this context.

Contact Professor Golo Ahlenstiel at to discuss your eligibility, the project requirements and your intention to apply.