Closing the gaps – establishing pediatric reference intervals of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines

Research area

 |  newborn health, inflammation


 |  cytokines, inflammation, reference ranges, pediatric, children, infants


 |  PhD/Doctorate, Honours

Contact supervisors at any time

Professor Marcel Nold

Dr Steven Cho

Project description

Cytokines have attracted substantial attention as diagnostic biomarkers for infectious and inflammatory diseases in recent years. However, understanding of maturation of the immune system and normal ranges for various patient age brackets in health and disease have not been established.

Cytokines play an important role in maintaining homeostasis on the one hand, and a wide range of childhood diseases on the other hand. Their potential as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers that may guide treatment in infectious, autoimmune, allergic, and haematological diseases is beginning to be recognised. Studies have suggested that cytokine production is influenced by age; however, larger datasets on cytokine profiles for healthy neonates, infants and children are lacking. The aim of this study is to establish reference ranges for multiple cytokines by measuring their concentrations in the blood of healthy infants and children. You will also explore conditions that influence cytokine production in the paediatric age group.

Direct clinical relevance: High

For Honours, this project will involve the following approaches

  • Obtaining and working up samples in collaboration with clinicians based at the Department of Paediatrics
  • Clinical data entry in an electronic database
  • ELISA or multiplex protein quantification assays to measure serum/plasma markers in infants and children.

For candidates interested in a PhD, the study’s scope is easily expandable to investigate further age groups and diseases.