The development of cellular immunity in the human infant airway and the response to infection

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: National Heart and Lung Institute


This project is a BBSRC-funded iCASE PhD that is in collaboration with the Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA) division at AstraZeneca (Cambridge). The overall aim of the project is to chart the cellular response to respiratory viral infections in infants. Initially, samples will be utilised that have been previously collected from infants diagnosed with viral-induced bronchiolitis of varying severity. Transcriptomic analysis will be undertaken on respiratory samples to measure changes in gene expression between these bronchiolitis severity groups. This can provide immune cell foot printing based on the transcripts. This will be developed further to use single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), using facilities at AstraZeneca, to produce in depth cellular profiles which can be directly compared to the profiles previously generated using flow cytometry. If patient recruitment resumes within an achievable timeline, then the aim would be to collect respiratory samples from healthy ventilated infants to define the cell populations within the lungs at various ages. Comparisons between healthy and virally infected patients would provide an understanding of the development of the airway immune system in early life, and specifically how this can be disrupted by respiratory viral infections.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/V509589/1 04/10/2020 03/10/2024
2457160 Studentship BB/V509589/1 04/10/2020 29/09/2024 Megan Barnes