Understanding Gamma Delta T Cell Function in Cancers

PhD Project 2021

Supervisor: Dr Lisa Mielke


The Mucosal Immunology and Cancer Laboratory focuses on identifying new immune targets that can be explored to develop novel therapeutics to treat bowel cancer. We study heterogeneous populations of T cells, known as intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) that are unique to the gastrointestinal tract. Our preliminary studies show that one population of IELs, known as gamma delta T cells, play a protective role in preventing development and progression of bowel cancer. We are working closely with the Tumour Immunology Laboratory that shares an interest in therapeutically exploiting gamma-delta T cell subsets in multiple cancer types. In this project we will collaboratively study a range of surface receptors and cell-cell crosstalk molecules predicted to modify the function of gamma delta T cells and their ability to engage other immune cell subsets and prevent cancer growth and metastasis. We will study the role of these molecules in gamma delta T cell function, in disease models and patient samples. We will use various techniques including flow cytometry, immunofluorescent microscopy and single cell RNA sequencing. We will determine if gamma delta T cell surface receptor expression can be exploited therapeutically to limit bowel cancer progression. Please contact lisa.mielke@onjcri.org.au for more information about this project and entry requirements for study with La Trobe University and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.