The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Characterisation and harnessing of human gamma delta T cells

Godfrey Group

Most of our understanding of T cells stems from studies on MHC-restricted alpha beta T cells. There exists, however, an entirely separate lineage of T cell known as gamma delta T cells. These cells express non-MHC-restricted T cell receptors encoded by the TCR-gamma and TCR-delta genes, and this drives a distinct developmental pathway from alpha beta T cells, and consequently divergent functional capacity. Ultimately, this manifests in unique roles in health and disease. Gamma delta T cells are abundant in humans, and have powerful anti-tumour and anti-microbial properties, giving them great potential as therapeutic targets. Our understanding of their biology, however, remains limited. This series of projects aims to understand the fundamental biology of these cells, including characterisation of their function, identifying the antigens they recognise, and developing novel immunotherapeutic technologies to harness their anti-cancer potential. Projects will focus on human gamma deltaT cells and will involve cellular immunology techniques such as tissue processing and culture and high parameter flow cytometry, as well as biochemical techniques involving protein expression, purification and characterisation.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Nicholas Gherardin

Project Co-supervisor

Professor Dale Godfrey

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Godfrey Group

4 vacancies

Cross Cutting Disciplines

The Godfrey Lab has a strong track record in the field of unconventional T cells with a focus on CD1 restricted T cells (NKT cells); MR1-restricted T cells (MAIT cells) and gamma delta T cells (1, 2, 3). These cells play a key role in many different diseases. More recently, we are also examining the role that these and other immune cells play in COVID-19 disease. The ultimate aim of this research is to understand the mechanisms with which these unconventional T cell populations specifically contribute to the immune response and how they can be harnessed for immunotherapy.

  1. Godfrey, D.I., Koay, H.F., McCluskey, J. & Gherardin, N.A. The biology and functional importance of MAIT cells. Nature immunology 20, 1110-1128 (2019).
  2. Godfrey, D.I., Le Nours, J., Andrews, D.M., Uldrich, A.P. & Rossjohn, J. Unconventional T Cell Targets for Cancer Immunotherapy. Immunity 48, 453-473 (2018).
  3. Godfrey, D.I., Uldrich, A.P., McCluskey, J., Rossjohn, J. & Moody, D.B. The burgeoning family of unconventional T cells. Nature immunology 16, 1114-1123 (2015).


Godfrey Group Current Projects