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PhD position available to study regulation of macrophage migration in Drosophila

Posted by , on 11 March 2014

Closing Date: 15 March 2021

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PhD position available to study regulation of macrophage migration in vivo using Drosophila

Organisation: Department of Infection and Immunity, The Medical School, University of Sheffield

Supervisor: Dr Iwan Evans

Studentship starting: 1st October 2014

Application Deadline: 18th April 2014


Inappropriate immune cell responses cause or exacerbate a wide range of human diseases including autoimmunity, atherosclerosis, cancer and chronic inflammatory conditions. An important function of the white blood cells known as macrophages is to remove and degrade cells undergoing programmed cell death (apoptosis). This process can suppress pro-inflammatory responses of macrophages and is linked to the resolution of inflammation.

Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) contain a population of highly migratory macrophages, called hemocytes. The genetic tractability and unparalleled live imaging possibilities of this system enables us to study the cell biology of apoptotic cell clearance by macrophages in vivo. This project will study how clearance of apoptotic cells affects the subsequent behaviour of macrophages, with a strong focus on regulation of their motility and inflammatory responses. We will also characterise how interactions between apoptotic cells and macrophages influences signalling and phenotype within the latter in order to understand how apoptotic cells can dampen inflammatory responses in vivo. Tissue culture approaches will also be used to test the relevance of mechanistic findings to mammalian macrophages.

This project is ideal for a candidate with strong interests in cell biology and the use of model organisms to study human disease-relevant questions in vivo. Knowledge of cell migration is desirable, but an enthusiasm for science and an enquiring mind is far more important. No prior knowledge of Drosophila is required, since the successful candidate will be given intensive training in the use of Drosophila as a genetic platform to study cell biology in vivo. This will involve a significant amount of dynamic imaging of macrophage behaviour in vivo using confocal microscopy, alongside standard cell biological techniques such as whole mount immunostaining and in situ hybridisation.


For further information see:

I. Evans, P. Ghai, V. Urbancic, K.-L. Tan and W. Wood (2013). SCAR/WAVE-mediated processing of engulfed apoptotic corpses is essential for effective macrophage migration in Drosophila. Cell Death and Differentiation. 20(5):709-20.

I. Evans and W. Wood (2011). Drosophila embryonic hemocytes. Curr Biol. 21(5):R173-4.


Evans lab website


Entry Requirements

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honours degree or significant research experience.


To apply

Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Iwan Evans (

For formal applications, visit:

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