The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Development and function of unconventional T cells

Godfrey Group

Unconventional T cells are innate-like cells that play critical roles in many disease settings such as combatting bacterial infection, promoting anti-viral and anti-tumour immunity, autoimmunity, enhancing vaccine efficacy, and promoting wound healing. Hence, their deficiencies are associated with impaired immunity in many of these settings. Critically, while unconventional T cells can be abundant, they numbers often vary widely, over orders of magnitude, between individuals.  Factors that govern this variability remain unclear. Thus, understanding the mechanisms that govern the numbers and function of these cells is necessary if we wish to modulate these cells, correct deficiencies, and harness their immunotherapeutic potential. This project will build on our expertise in mapping unconventional T cell development to decipher how distinct unconventional T cell subsets (including MAIT cells and gamma delta T cells) are generated and regulated, beginning with their thymic selection and subset differentiation, through to peripheral expansion and homeostasis. These questions will be addressed through immunology techniques involving cell culture, in vitro human development models, mouse models, multi-parameter flow cytometry and protein biochemistry.  

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Fern Koay

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