Principal Advisor: Associate Professor Emma Hamilton-Williams


Research group: Hamilton-Williams Group - Type 1 diabetes pathogenesis and therapy

Organisational unit: UQ Diamantina Institute

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the most common chronic disease of childhood. It is triggered by an immune dysregulation causing T cells to attack the insulin-producing islet beta cells in the pancreas. This results in elevated blood-glucose and severe life-long complications. Our laboratory aims to develop a T cell targeted immunotherapy to prevent or treat T1D. For this goal to be successful, better tools are needed to detect and characterise islet-specific T cells in patient blood as a way to monitor responses to immunotherapy. An understanding is needed of how these T cell responses vary between different patient groups. This project aims to develop an approach to personalised immunomonitoring of islet specific T cells using state-of-the-art high-parameter immune profiling, single cell sequencing and clonotype analysis of islet-specific T cells in patient blood. This approach will later be used to characterise how these T cells respond to immunotherapy. The ideal candidate will have prior knowledge and academic achievement in the field of immunology. Practical experience in T cell biology, autoimmunity or sequencing analysis would be desirable. This project is aligned with a National Health and Medical Research Council funded grant and will be co-supervised by Associate Professor Emma Hamilton-Williams, Professor Ranjeny Thomas and Dr Mark Harris. The supervisor team are highly experienced and provide broad expertise and experience in immunology, translational and clinical research. A PhD scholarship is available for this project.