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Tissue Remodeling Pulmonary Diseases Research Scholarship





The Centre for Inflammation currently has a full-time postgraduate scholarships available for suitably qualified candidates with a strong Honours degree (or equivalent) in biomedical science, pharmacology, chemistry, biomedical engineering or pharmacy to undertake research studies leading to a PhD focused on Vitronectin regulation of inflammation and tissue remodeling in pulmonary diseases.

Vitronectin (Vtn) is an ECM protein that is involved in wound healing, cell adhesion and migration. It interacts with collagen, suggesting roles in tissue remodeling. Our preliminary data show that Vtn gene and protein levels are substantially reduced in mouse lungs in an experimental model of CS-induced COPD. Inhibition of Vtn in mice worsened emphysema and impaired lung function after CS exposure compared to controls. The levels of the Vtn gene was also reduced in lung tissues from asthmatics compared to healthy controls. However, the role of Vtn in COPD, asthma and IPF has not been studied.

In this PhD project, we hypothesis that Vtn regulates pathogenesis of lung diseases, including COPD, asthma and lung fibrosis.

The aims of this project are to:

1. Examine the role Vtn in these lung diseases using experimental models in mice including using Vtn knock out mice.

2. Investigate the mechanisms of how Vtn regulates inflammation and remodeling in these lung diseases.

3. Assess the potential of therapeutic manipulation of Vtn will also be assessed as a treatment.

All of these will be in in vivo models of COPD, asthma and lung fibrosis.

4. We will validate and translate our findings in human samples ex vivo.

This project has the potential to develop new therapies for the fibrotic lung diseases, COPD, asthma and IPF, which are in desperate need of new and effective treatments.