The evolutionary consequences of HLA-specific antigen presentation in infection, autoimmunity and cancer
The highly polymorphic human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes, located inside the human major histocompatibility complex (MHC), are known to be associated with various diseases, including infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. This project aims to understand the evolutionary dynamics that result from HLA allele-specific antigen presentation in the context of different diseases, taking into account both pleiotropic effects of individual alleles (i.e. association with multiple diseases) and epistatic interactions among different alleles. For this purpose we will make use of available genomic data from both pathogens and humans, and employ computational tools to characterize allele-specific self- and non-self-antigen repertoires. This work can be combined with population genetic simulations. Apart from a strong interest in evolutionary questions, previous bioinformatic experience as well as an interest in theoretical and/or computational work are desirable.
Relevant references include:
- Lenz et al. 2015 Nat Gen
- McLaren et al. 2015 PNAS
- Arora et al. 2019 PNAS
- Hasan Ali et al. 2019 Eur J Cancer
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