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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Immunology
Investigating tissue-resident memory T cells in the respiratory tract

Position description: Applications are invited for an ambitious postdoctoral research position in cellular immunology. This is a joint appointment between the Host-Pathogen Interactions research group led by Prof Rachel McLoughlin (www.tcd.ie/Biochemistry/research/r_mcloughlin.php) and the Immune Regulation Research Group lead by Prof Kingston Mills (http://www.tcd.ie/Biochemistry/research/k_mills.php) in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin

The postdoc will lead an exciting new project investigating the induction, function and crossactivation of resident memory T-cells (Trm) by two important respiratory microbes Staphylococcus aureus and Bordetella pertussis, relevant to long-term protective immunity and vaccination.

The candidate should be highly motived with a strong background in cellular immunology, ideally in the context of infection. Both research teams already have a complement of postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and research assistants and are primarily funded by Science Foundation Ireland and The Wellcome Trust. The postdoc will help to supervise PhD students and undergraduate students in the lab, present their data at national and international meetings and publish in leading international journals.

Scientific Background: B. pertussis infection of the respiratory tract of infants and children causes whooping cough, a vaccine-preventable infectious disease. Despite wide vaccination coverage of up to 85% globally pertussis is still a significant problem and asymptomatic transmission is a significant issue. It is suggested this is due to rapidly waning of vaccine induced immunity. A deeper understanding of the host-pathogen interaction is paramount in order to support the development of next generation B. pertussis vaccines. Recent evidence from the Mills lab and others has shown that Trm cells play a critical role in maintaining long term protective immunity to B. pertussis and other mucosal pathogens. The WHO highlights the epidemic of antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as a particular threat to society, strongly advocating for the development of alternatives to antibiotics. Over the past 15 years significant efforts have been made to develop an anti-S. aureus vaccine but none have been successful. All anti S. aureus vaccines to-date have focused on inducing protective anti-S. aureus antibodies, however, there is emerging evidence of an important role for T cells in promoting bacterial clearance and inducing sustained protection, as has been described for B. pertussis. Given that S. aureus is a major coloniser of mucosal surfaces it is likely that Trm cells are also an important component of the immune response to S. aureus. As such they may represent a key correlate of immune protection for next generation S. aureus vaccines. Evidence is emerging that Trm cells may persist in tissues by non-specific activation by innate immune responses to unrelated pathogens. This project, through the expertise in the two labs, is ideally positioned to test this hypothesis.

Requirements: A PhD in Immunology, molecular or cell biology with proven publication record and excellent communication skills.

Closing Date for applications: November 30th 2018 or until a suitable candidate is identified

Please submit a covering letter and CV (include the names and contact details of 2 referees) to: rachel.mcloughlin@tcd.ie

Informal enquiries can be made to rachel.mcloughlin@tcd.ie or millsk@tcd.ie

Trinity College Dublin is an equal opportunities employer.


Last updated 23 October 2018 bbutler@tcd.ie (Email).