Modulating gastrointestinal microbiota stimulation of the innate immune system

Research area

 |  gastrointestinal microbiota


 |  innate immune response, gastrointestinal microbiota, immunology, microbiology, bioinformatics, genomics, microbiome, metagenomics, microbiota


 |  PhD/Doctorate, Honours

Project description

The innate immune system is capable of intricately detailed detection, differentiation and elimination of pathogenic bacteria. However, the vast majority of bacteria encountered by our innate immune system are beneficial to health. Indeed, over 500 species of these commensal bacteria, containing approximately 10,000 fold more genes than the human genome exist in the human gastrointestinal tract alone. Emerging research is demonstrating the importance of these bacterial communities in maintaining health and causing or exacerbating disease. We developed novel methods to grow for the first time, the vast majority of bacteria from the gastrointestinal microbiota resulting in the discovery of hundreds of novel species which require further investigation.

Combined with the established experimental and computational expertise in the analysis of innate immune signalling pathways, this project will include cutting edge microbial culturing techniques, cell culture assays and advanced computational analysis to identify pro- and anti- inflammatory bacterial species. Students interested in experimental or computational elements, will have the opportunity provided to develop skills in both areas.

The Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases is a world leader in infection and inflammation with a strong record of student training and development. Please contact A/Prof Sam Forster ( or Dr Michelle Chonwerawong (