Characterization of the immune mechanisms associated with allergies during pregnancy and their influence in the development of the fetal immune system
Portugal ( PorMSIC) - Nova University of Lisbon, Lisbon
CEDOC Immunology Laboratory | NOVA Medical School|Faculdade de Ciências Médicas
Luís Miguel Borrego
Catarina Martins
English , Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Type of Research Project
- Clinical Project with Laboratory work
What is the background of the project?
In order to maintain tolerance against fetal antigens, pregnancy imposes a modulation of immune responses. In fact, pregnancy also interferes with the course of autoimmune and allergic diseases in affected women, reinforcing the idea of immune modulation in this period. Thus, our group aims to better understand the immune mechanisms underlying distinct clinical manifestations of allergic and atopic diseases during pregnancy, contributing to a timely recognition, and possible prevention, of crisis and disease aggravation, that carry risks for mother and child. In parallel, maternal history of atopy represents a risk factor for the development of atopy in the child. Consequently, recognizing how the maternal immune system affects the fetal immune system during pregnancy may allow the characterization of risk markers for the development of allergy in children and allow the adoption of preventive measures.
What is the aim of the project?
The aim of the project is to understand how Th-related cytokines involved in the allergic immune responses behave during pregnancy and the postpartum period in atopic women
What techniques and methods are used?
The project will use Flow Cytometry Multiplex immunoassays and Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) to quantify cytokines in body fluids and tissue culture samples of pregnant women. After the collection of the data regarding the quantity of Th-related cytokines involved in the allergic reactions throught the techniques mention above, it will be done a data analysis using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), a program for statistical data analysis. Depending on the progress of the project at the time of arrival, the student will be involved in sample collection and manipulation for analysis or the analysis of the data collected.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
The student will be responsible to manage samples to be evaluated (separate, frozen and defronzen, prepare). In the context of the assays, the student will perform the laboratory protocols (managing generic laboratory equipment), and also will be trained to operate with the flow cytometer in which samples will be acquired. After sample processing, the student will be expected to perform data analysis and assay validation. Moreover, statistical analysis of results and a brief report discussing it shall be prepared by the student until the end of the traineeship.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes. A basic course in laboratory biosafety will be administered to the student. Also, the most important concepts of Basic Immunology will be reviewed in small talks, as well as a review on the data obtained in the context of this project.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster
- The student will prepare a scientific report
- The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Theoretical knowledge of Immunology and basic immunoassay principles
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Catarina Martins; Jorge Lima; Glória Nunes; Luís Miguel Borrego; Pregnancy alters the circulating B cell compartment in atopic asthmatic women; and transitional B cells are positively associated with the development of allergy manifestations in their progeny
- Martins C; Lima J; Nunes G; Borrego LM; Regulatory T and B Cells in Asthmatic Women: Variations From Pregnancy to Postpartum doi: 10.18176/jiaci.0086