The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Interrogating a new protein-protein interaction between the CD36 and CD1 families

Godfrey Group

CD1 proteins are MHC I-like molecules that present lipid antigens to T cells. In humans there are 4 surface-expressed CD1 isoforms, CD1a, CD1b, CD1c and CD1d, each of which have a distinct antigen-binding groove and follow different intracellular trafficking pathways, thereby allowing the collective CD1 family to sample and present at the cell surface a snapshot of the cellular lipidome for T cell surveillance. CD1 molecules present lipids from diverse disease contexts, such as microbial lipids like those derived from the cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and methylated and oxidised self-lipids that are overexpressed in tumours. These lipids are in turn recognise by distinct T cell subsets that contribute to immune responses. An understanding of this antigen presentation system will therefore have implications for immune responses across a wide range of disease settings. We recently identified a family of lipid-scavenger receptors, the CD36 family, as novel binding partners for CD1 molecules, and preliminary data suggests that this interaction may be an important component of the CD1-lipid antigen presentation pathway. This project will aim to decipher the role of CD36 family members in lipid-antigen presentation, and uncover the biological role of the CD36-CD1 interaction. The project will involve cellular immunology techniques such as tissue culture and flow cytometry, molecular techniques such as cloning, CRISPR and various sequencing technologies, 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

5 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