Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Katharina Ronacher


Mater Research profile link:

Organisational unit: Mater Research Institute-UQ

Metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2D) increase severity of bacterial and viral lung infections. The underlying immune-metabolic mechanisms however remain elusive. Our laboratory has recently shown that oxidised cholesterols and the oxidised cholesterol receptor GPR183, expressed on innate and adaptive immune cells, are important players in Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenesis:

a) decreased expression of GPR183 in blood from tuberculosis (TB) patients with T2D is associated with more severe TB disease,

b) activation of GPR183 by the oxysterol 7a25OHC induces autophagy and reduces intracellular bacterial growth and

c) GPR183 is a negative regulator of type I IFNs.

This project expands on our published work to investigate the role of oxysterols in the lung during TB and viral respiratory infections in human clinical samples and in pre-clinical murine models. In addition we will identify pathways to harness oxidised cholesterols to improve respiratory infection outcomes.