Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon
A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
No date set
Host campus
Pathology and Biomedical Science (Christchurch)
Dr Christoph Goebl


Immunotherapy is one of the major breakthrough technologies in cancer treatment in recent years, where tumours are treated by a patient's own immune system. Nevertheless, it's broad applicability suffers from very specific shortcomings.

The protein aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a transcription factor that is activated by ligands. It was recently established that tumours produce specific metabolites such as kynurenine. These activate the AhR receptor in T-cells, leading to T-cell activity downregulation and causing immunoescape, constituting a major obstacle for immunotherapy. In addition, this receptor is known to sense bacterial metabolites, toxins, food compounds and others.

Although >10 000 publications describe this promiscuous receptor, it has not be studied on the molecular level. We aim to perform a thorough molecular characterization of AhR ligand binding to pave the way for future therapeutic intervention, including development of specific inhibitors and immunotherapy treatments.

This is one of a number of projects on offer for the 2024 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) at the University of Otago, Christchurch campus.

Preferred student expertise:

The only requirement is interest in this challenging project. We are happy to accept students with various backgrounds.

Additional information


Dr Christoph Goebl

Useful information

Similar research opportunities

Back to top