Elucidating the role of immune cells in alveolar epithelial regeneration and lung fibrosis

Project Overview

The lung is a distinct organ in terms of regeneration and self-renewal. In the steady-state, cell turnover is low, but after injury, it possesses tremendous ability to regrow its epithelium - a whole new lung segment can regenerate after partial pneumonectomy. Yet, in end stage lung disease including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), regeneration is rare or occurs abnormally. The project examines the role of immune cells (tissue-resident and circulating e.g. innate lymphoid cells, Tregs, iNKT, resident alveolar macrophages) on adult lung stem cells (alveolar epithelial progenitors) in maintaining steady-state quiescence and coordinating appropriate repair after injury of the alveolar epithelium. The work will focus on the use of improved bleomycin murine model to examine the in vivo changes in tissue resident immune cells in the lungs, its co-localisation with regenerating alveolar epithelium and alveolar progenitor cells during injury and regeneration/repair. Findings will be tested in the appropriate transgenic mice and human diseased lung samples.

Training Opportunities

The project will be based at the MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and be part of the Translational Lung Immunology group. In addition to joining a well-supported training structure for post graduate education, the successful candidate will also have specific training opportunities in murine model for lung injury and repair, advanced flow cytometry methods, mass spectrometry (CYTOF), RNA sequencing techniques and related molecular biology and bioinformatics methods. There will also be a focus on training in scientific methods, critical thinking and analyses, presentation of data and writing. The group is linked to a nationally accredited tertiary clinical service in lung fibrosis and interstitial lung disease, providing opportunities to understand the clinical disease, management of lung fibrosis and advanced bronchoscopic and lung sampling techniques in humans.


Immunology & Infectious Disease and Physiology, Cellular & Molecular Biology


Project reference number: 1027

Funding and admissions information


Name Department Institution Country Email
Professor Ling-Pei Ho Experimental Medicine Division Oxford University, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine GBR ling-pei.ho@imm.ox.ac.uk
Dr Laura Denney WIMM NDM Exp Medicine GBR laura.denney@ndm.ox.ac.uk

There are no publications listed for this DPhil project.