We are seeking two new PhD students or Post-Doctoral Fellows to join our growing research team. These individuals will pursue projects focused on the role of Rab GTPases, Rab-regulatory proteins, and GATA-family transcription factors in mediating the trafficking and presentation of phagocytosed antigens, and determining how perturbations of these pathways contribute to the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and recovery from pneumonia. Through this project, the applicants will develop expertise in phagocyte biology and develop advanced skills in functional, live cell and super-resolution microscopy, as well as in a range of molecular biology techniques. These positions are fully funded for up to five years.
Successful applicants will be highly motivated and self-directed learners. Applicants applying for graduate training should have a BSc or MSc in cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, or a related field, and must meet the admission requirements for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Western Ontario. Prior molecular biology and microscopy experience is an asset, but is not required. Post-Doctoral applicants must have a PhD in a relevant field. These positions are open to domestic (Canadian) and international applicants.
Immune cells such as macrophages and dendritic cells engulf and destroy particulate targets through phagocytosis. These targets include innocuous materials such as the billions of cells turned-over by our bodies each day, and harmful foreign targets such as pathogens. Not only do phagocytes engulf and degrade these targets, but through a combination of regulated vesicular trafficking and changes in gene expression, phagocytes control and direct the subsequent immune response. This immunoregulatory process is a critical juncture during the development of an immune response, with the induction of a tolerogenic response required to maintain immune silence against innocuous materials, while an inflammatory and immunogenic response must be induced to generate productive immunity against pathogens. The Heit lab investigates the vesicular trafficking and gene regulatory processes which allow phagocytes to regulate immune responses, and investigates how defects in these pathways leads to inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
The Heit Lab is located in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Western Ontario. Additional details on our lab and research can be found on our website: www.phagocytes.ca