Masters or Honours Project: Both
Anticipated State Date: Semester 1, 2021
Allergic rhinitis (hayfever) affects 19.3% of Australians as well as 500 million people worldwide. Grass pollen allergens are the major outdoor allergen trigger globally. Grass pollen allergy is also an important trigger for asthma, including thunderstorm asthma epidemics, and exposure to pollen allergen can diminish antiviral immunity, which is of particular interest in relation the impact of allergies on COVID. Our research shows that patients with grass pollen allergy from subtropical regions show sensitisation and specific IgE and T cell recognition of allergens from subtropical grass pollens. Whilst allergen specific immunotherapy vaccine treatments are effective at reducing symptoms of hayfever and asthma, some skin prick test and allergen immunotherapy reagents are not standardized. Current methods of mixing of aqueous allergen extracts of grass pollen and house dust mites leads to loss of allergen content that may affect clinical efficacy of treatment. Whilst simple in design, the expected outcomes of this project will provide qualitative and quantitative evidence of allergen content of clinical relevant allergen extracts, with significance for clinical use of allergen specific immunotherapy for control of allergic rhinitis. The specific aims are to establish an allergen stability test of combinations of aqueous allergen extracts used clinically for allergen specific immunotherapy and to evaluate the change in content of key allergen components over time.
The specific aims are to establish an allergen stability test of combinations of aqueous allergen extracts used clinically for allergen specific immunotherapy and to evaluate the change in content of key allergen components over time.
Approaches / Skills and Techniques
The student will gain an appreciation for applied allergy research and have the opportunity to engage in collaborative research involving industry partners.
Students with a background in infection and immunity and molecular methods will be suited to this project. The successful student will be invited to join the multidisciplinary QUT Allergy Research Group that is funded by NHMRC and ARC as well as government and competitive foundation grants.
Required Skills and Experience (optional)
Training and understanding of protein chemistry, molecular biology and/or immunology would be beneficial.
References / Key Papers
Nony et al. Specific IgE recognition of pollen allergens from subtropic grasses in patients from the subtropics. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015 114; 214-220.