Looking for motivated students for Tasmanian devil immunology research

Title: Tipping the balance from tolerance to anti-cancer immunity in Tasmanian devils

Project description:

A transmissible cancer first identified in 1996 has been the primary driver for an 85% decline in wild Tasmanian devils. Recently a second type of transmissible tumour was discovered in wild devils and further threatens the long-term persistence of wild Tasmanian devils. These two transmissible tumours offer a unique opportunity to learn how tumours avoid being killed by the immune system, and the knowledge we acquire from studying these transmissible tumours could have help us to understand cancer and transplant rejection in humans and other species. We have recently developed cutting-edge molecular tools (i.e. recombinant cytokines and checkpoint molecules) for studying and manipulating the devil immune system. The goal of this project will be to assess functional responses of tumour cells and immune cells to cytokines and manipulation of checkpoint molecule and cytokine signalling pathways at the RNA and protein levels. Bioinformatics skills are highly desirable, but not essential.


1. Determine most effective methods for stimulating anti-tumour immune responses using

existing tools.

2. Identify novel immune evasion pathways using RNA-seq


Dr Andy Flies (andy.flies@utas.edu.au)

ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow