D Phil awarded 2010
eQTL Analysis of HSP70 expression in heat shock
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are single base changes that occur approximately once in every thousand bases in human DNA. These small changes are hypothesised to be responsible for 90% of the 1% variation in DNA sequence between individuals. The aim of my project was to identify these small changes in the DNA sequence that affects a cells ability to produce HSP70 proteins at times of stress. Once proof of principle is confirmed in my model system the study was expanded to include clinical samples. HSP70 has been implicated as important in the immune response to sepsis. The clinical samples were from patients presenting with severe sepsis of a defined etiology.
I have previously worked for a biotech company, Benitec, where I was involved in the early validation of short hairpin RNA effects in mammals. For my honours degree I studied the effect of using short hairpin RNA targeted to the CCR5 gene on CD4 cells to prevent the ability of HIV viruses infecting these cells. I've also been involved in vaccine development for the Queensland government (Australia).
Keywords: MHC, Genetics, eQTL Mapping
This project is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust