BBSRC CASE PhD in Infection and Immunity: Dissecting the relationship between phosphinositide3-kinase δ activity and L-selectin expression by leucocytes

Save to favorites

    Cardiff University
    United Kingdom
    Formal sciences
    Natural sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)


The PhD position will be funded through a BBSRC ICASE Studentship with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

This project is based on the new concept that L-selectin expression is required for influenza virus clearance by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Since the inhibition of phosphinositide-3-kinase δ (PI3Kδ) is known to result in the overall increase of cell surface expression of L-selectin in CTLs and other types of leucocytes (1, 2), we propose to study the potential pathways linking PI3Kδ inhibition and L-selectin expression in host immune responses against viral infections.

The leucocyte restricted homing molecule L-selectin has not been considered an important molecule on influenza-specific CTLs since expression is downregulated following T cell activation and is low on CTLs harvested from infected lungs. However, Dr Ager has shown that L-selectin is re-expressed on influenza-specific CTLs before lymph node egress and L-selectin is essential for virus clearance since L-selectin null CTLs cannot control influenza infection despite being activated in lymph nodes. Moreover, L-selectin enhanced CTLs expressing a shedding-resistant mutant of L-selectin, which do not downregulate L-selectin following activation (LΔP) are superior in controlling influenza infection.

The classical view of the role of L-selectin in T lymphocyte homing was restricted to naïve and central memory trafficking to lymph nodes; however, Dr Ager’s new data has overthrown this dogma. We have shown that CD8+ T cell dependent clearance of pulmonary influenza infection is limited by the level of L-selectin expressed on early stage effector T cells and maintaining high L-selectin levels improves virus clearance.

This proposal aims to determine the interplay between PI3Kδ and L-selectin in leucocytes during virus infections of the lung.

What is funded

Full UK/EU tuition fees

If applicable, any eligible non-home fee paying candidate must fund the remainder of the overseas fee themselves.


4 years with a minimum of 3 months at industrial partner (GSK)


Open to all UK/EU students without further restrictions

You will hold or expect to achieve a First or Upper Second Class degree in a relevant area (e.g. natural sciences, biomedical sciences, immunology, biochemistry). As this is a training doctorate, previous research experience is not essential.