International Plenary Speakers
Prof Doreen Cantrell
Doreen studied Zoology at The University College of Wales in Aberystwyth and then did a PhD in Cellular Immunology at the University of Nottingham. She made the move to do a postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire to work with Kendall Smith on the control of T cell growth and proliferation. A second postdoctoral fellowship with Michael Crumpton at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories (ICRF) in London launched her interest in biochemistry/signal transduction and provided the impetus for the establishment of the Lymphocyte Activation Laboratory within the ICRF. After 15 years as a Principal Investigator in ICRF, the award of a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship in 2002 provided the mechanism to move Doreen’s group to the University of Dundee. The rationale behind this move was that Dundee, a world leading Centre for Life Sciences research would provide the perfect environment for my program to understand how serine/threonine kinases control T cell immune responses. Doreen continues to work on signal transduction pathways in T lymphocytes. Outside the laboratory- three daughters and 5 grandchildren keep Doreen busy and she is also an enthusiastic cyclist.
Dr Dan Littman
Dr. Littman completed the M.D./Ph.D. program at Washington University in St. Louis and was a postdoctoral fellow in Richard Axel’s laboratory at Columbia University. He was Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, before joining NYU, where he is the Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Professor of Molecular Immunology at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Littman is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of the New York Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, the AAI-Invitrogen Meritorious Career Award, the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, the William B. Coley Award from the Cancer Research Institute, and the Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Littman’s laboratory applies molecular and genetics tools to study mechanisms that promote immune system homeostasis at mucosal surfaces and on characterizing the role of the microbiota in these processes.
Dr John Wherry
Dr. E. John Wherry is the Barbara and Richard Schiffrin President’s Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics in the Perelman School of Medicine and Director of the UPenn Institute for Immunology. Dr. Wherry received his Ph.D. at Thomas Jefferson University in 2000 then did postdoctoral research at Emory University with Dr. Rafi Ahmed from 2000-2004. Dr. Wherry has received numerous distinctions and honors including the Distinguished Alumni award from the Thomas Jefferson University, the Cancer Research Institute’s Frederick W. Alt Award for New Discoveries in Immunology and the Stand Up To Cancer Phillip A. Sharp Award. Dr. Wherry has over 225 publications. He has an H-Index of 101 and his publications have been cited over 55,000 times.
Dr. Wherry’s research has pioneered the field of T cell exhaustion – the fundamental mechanisms by which T cell responses are attenuated during chronic infections and cancer. His discoveries helped identify the role of PD-1 and the ability to block this pathway to reinvigorate exhausted T cells. His group also first demonstrated that targeting multiple co-inhibitory receptors simultaneously could synergistically improve therapeutic efficacy, a foundation for current combination immunotherapy efforts in humans. Dr. Wherry’s work has defined the transcriptional and epigenetic atlas of exhausted T cells defining exhausted T cells as a distinct immune lineage. Finally, his laboratory has been a pioneer in defining the concept of Immune Health using systems immunology approaches, most recently applying this concept to COVID-19.
Prof Florent Ginhoux
Florent Ginhoux graduated in Biochemistry from the University Pierre et Marie CURIE (UPMC), Paris VI and obtained a Masters degree in Advanced Studies in Immunology from the Pasteur Institute, Paris. He then started his PhD in the Immunology Team of GENETHON, Evry and obtained his PhD in 2004 from the UPMC, Paris VI. As a postdoctoral fellow, Florent Ginhoux joined the Laboratory of Miriam Merad in the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM), New York where he studied the ontogeny and the homeostasis of cutaneous dendritic cell populations, with a strong focus on Langerhans cells and Microglia. In 2008, he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, MSSM and member of the Immunology Institute of MSSM. He joined the Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), A*STAR in May 2009 as a Principal Investigator. He joined the EMBO Young Investigator (YIP) program in 2013 and is a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher since 2016. He is also an Adjunct Visiting Associate Professor in the Shanghai Immunology Institute, Jiao Tong University, in Shanghai, China since 2015 and in the Translational Immunology Institute, SingHealth and Duke NUS, Singapore since 2018. Both laboratories are focusing on the ontogeny and differentiation of macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs).
Prof Kim Newton
Dr. Kim Newton has worked in the field of cell death signaling for most of her career. She obtained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, working in the lab of Prof. Andreas Strasser at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. She then completed postdoctoral work with Dr. Vishva Dixit at Genentech in South San Francisco, California. She is currently a Senior Principal Scientist in the Physiological Chemistry Department at Genentech. Her research explores the relationship between cell death and inflammation.
Prof Ana-Maria Lennon
Ana-Maria Lennon-Duménil graduated as a biologist at the University of Chile in 1993. She did her PhD at the Pasteur Institute in Paris and her postdoc in the lab of Hidde Ploegh at Harvard Medical School. Since 2004, she has been a team leader in the Department of Immunity and Cancer at the Curie Institute in Paris. Ana-Maria has been an elected EMBO member since 2018 and was awarded an INSERM national research award in the same year. Her research focuses on the coordination of cell migration and antigen presentation in dendritic cells and the contribution of cell polarity to the establishment of the immune synapse in B-lymphocytes. Ana-Maria is the Guest Editor for the 2020 Cell Biology of the Immune System Special Issue in Journal of Cell Science.
Prof Feng Shao
Dr. Feng Shao is an investigator and deputy director at National Institute of Biological Sciences (NIBS), Beijing. He was a chemistry undergraduate of Peking University and obtained his PhD from University of Michigan (2003). Before joining NIBS (2005), he was a Damon Runyon Postdoc Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Shao’s research lies at the interface between bacterial pathogen and host inflammation. He identified most of the known cytosolic receptors for bacterial molecules, including caspase-11/4/5 for LPS and ALPK1 for ADP-heptose in LPS biosynthesis. He also identified gasdermin-D (GSDMD) whose cleavage by caspase-1/4/5/11 determines pyroptosis, critical for septic shock and other inflammatory diseases. His research establishes the gasdermin family of pore-forming proteins, re-defining pyroptosis as gasdermin-mediated programmed necrosis. Among the family, GSDME is activated by caspase-3, which occurs mostly in noncancer cells and contributes to toxicity of chemotherapy drugs. His most recent work demonstrates that pyroptosis is a critical mechanism underlying lymphocyte cytotoxicity and gasdermin activation can stimulate potent antitumor immunity.
Dr. Shao‘s work has been recognized by numerous awards including the Future Science Prize, HHMI International Early Career Award and the Protein Society Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, an associate member of EMBO, and a fellow of American Academy of Microbiology.
Local Plenary Speakers
Prof Dale Godfrey
Professor Dale Godfrey was awarded his PhD in 1990 from Monash University and then worked as a postdoc Hoffman-La Roche in New Jersey, USA and then DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto, USA. He returned to the Centenary Institute at The University of Sydney in 1994, then returned to Monash University, Department of Immunology, as a Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow. In 2003, Dale moved to The University of Melbourne, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, where he was appointed as Associate Professor and then full Professor. Dale is currently an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Immunology Theme Leader at the Doherty Institute.
Prof Mariapia Degli-Esposti
Mariapia Degli-Esposti is a Principal Research Fellow and Professor at Monash University. Mariapia received a PhD in Immunology from the University of Western Australia (UWA) and undertook post-doctoral studies at Royal Perth Hospital (Perth, Australia) and then Immunex (Seattle, USA). She returned to Australia as Group Leader in the Department of Microbiology at UWA. She has held competitive Research Fellowships from the Wellcome Trust and the NHMRC. In 2003 she moved to the Lions Eye Institute as Head of Immunology and became Director of Research in 2009. She recently moved to Monash University where she heads the Experimental and Viral Immunology Group within the Infection and Immunity Program at the Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Department of Microbiology. She continues to hold an appointment at the Lions Eye Institute as an Honorary Fellow. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
Mariapia is internationally recognised for her research in the interactions between innate and adaptive immunity and how these interactions affect the outcome of immune responses especially in settings of viral infection and autoimmunity.
Dr Sharon Lewin
Sharon Lewin is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital; Professor of Infectious Diseases, The University of Melbourne; consultant infectious diseases physician, Alfred Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital and is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow, Melbourne, Australia. The Doherty Institute is home to over 700 staff all working in infectious diseases and immunology and focuses on research, education and public health.
She is an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist. Her research focuses on understanding why HIV persists on treatment and developing clinical trials aimed at ultimately finding a cure for HIV infection. She has also had a long standing interest in the natural history and management of HIV-hepatitis B co-infection.
She is an elected member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society (IAS) representing the Asia Pacific region. She co-chairs the IAS Global Advisory board for the Towards an HIV Cure initiative. She has been a member of the council of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia since 2016 and is chair of the NHMRC Health Translation Advisory Committee.
In 2014 she was co-chair of the International AIDS Conference which was held in Melbourne Australia and was the largest health conference ever held in Australia. Later that year, she was named Melburnian of the Year for being an inspirational role model to others in her field. In 2015, she was awarded the Peter Wills Medal from Research Australia. In 2019, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia and received the award of distinguished alumnus from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University.
Prof Kate Schroder
Professor Kate Schroder heads the Inflammasome Laboratory at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), University of Queensland, as an NHMRC RD Wright Fellow. Kate is also the Director of the IMB Centre for Inflammation and Disease Research, the former Chair of the IMB Diversity and Inclusion Committee (2018-2020), and an editorial board member for Science Signaling, Cell Death and Disease, and Clinical and Translational Immunology. Kate’s graduate studies with Prof David Hume defined novel macrophage activation mechanisms, and her PhD was awarded in 2005.
Kate has published more than 100 articles in top journals such as Cell, Science, Nature Medicine, Nature Genetics, Science Immunology, Nature Chemical Biology, Journal of Experimental Medicine, and PNAS USA. She is an enthusiastic mentor for her team, and an advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within and outside of UQ. Kate is the recipient of the 2020 Australian Academy of Science Nancy Millis Medal, 2019 Merck Medal, 2019 ANZSCDB Emerging Leader Award, 2014 Milstein Young Investigator Award, 2013 QLD Tall Poppy Award, 2010 QLD Premier’s Postdoctoral Award, and the 2008 Society for Leukocyte Biology’s Dolph Adams Award.
Prof Jennifer Stow
Professor Jennifer Stow is a molecular cell biologist and head of the Protein Trafficking and Inflammation research laboratory in The University of Queensland’s, Institute of Molecular Bioscience (IMB). Professor Stow received her undergraduate and PhD qualifications at Melbourne’s Monash University before undertaking postdoctoral training in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine, USA.
Professor Stow’s research is identifying the molecules, cell compartments and pathways that contribute to inflammatory responses in macrophages, epithelial and cancer cells. At a fundamental level this research is defining cell signaling and trafficking pathways that underpin cell and tissue functions that are often impaired in disease.
Prof David Tscharke
David Tscharke is a virologist who moonlights as an immunologist, or vice versa, depending on your point of view. He has diverse interests from antigen presentation to CD8+ T cells, to herpes simplex virus (HSV) latency and the application of CRISPR/Cas9 to viral genome engineering. He got to this point of confusion via a PhD in from University of Adelaide on HSV pathogenesis and CD8+ T cell immunity and postdoctoral experience at the University of Oxford (where he swapped herpes for pox), the US National Institutes of Health (where he picked up antigen presentation), and QIMR in Brisbane. Since 2006 he has been at The Australian National University (ANU) and has had several positions with varying responsibility for research and teaching across the campus. Throughout his career he has had the benefit of working with excellent mentors, generous collaborators and brilliant students. With their help he has become an NHMRC Leadership Fellow and Head of the Division of Immunity, Inflammation and Infection at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU.
International Symposia Speakers
A/Prof Stephanie Eisenbarth
Dr. Stephanie Eisenbarth is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Immunobiology and the Section of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at Yale University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on understanding the immunologic mechanisms of allergic disorders. Recently, her group has embarked on developing new mouse models of food allergy, informed by data from patients, and using these systems to identify fundamental cellular pathways resulting in allergic responses to dietary antigens. Clinically, Dr. Eisenbarth practices laboratory medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital with a focus on immune-mediated disorders including autoimmunity, immunodeficiency syndromes and allergic disease.
Prof Daniel Kaplan
Professor Daniel Kaplan’s research focus: the skin is a barrier organ that is exposed to a wide variety of potential pathogens including bacteria, fungi and viruses. Within the skin there are numerous components of both the innate and adaptive immune system. The research focus of my lab is to understand how these skin resident immune cells (e.g. dendritic cells, T cells, mast cells) interact with specific pathogens and other non-immune cells in the skin (e.g. keratinocytes and neurons) to contribute to the development of both innate and adaptive immune responses that provide host protection. My presentation will focus on how sensory nerves in the skin are able to trigger immune responses leading to host defense as well as maintain cutaneous immune homeostasis thus establishing cutaneous neurons as a critical cell type modulating cutaneous immune function.
Dr Michelle Linterman
Michelle Linterman is Group Leader at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge. Her laboratory aims to understand the cellular and molecular basis of the germinal centre response, which generates robust humoral immunity after vaccination and infection. The Linterman lab is funded by the Bioscience and Biotechnology Research Council and the Dunhill Medical Trust. Michelle is currently an EMBO Young Investigator, a Lister Institute Prize Fellow and a Fellow of Churchill College.
Michelle received her PhD in Immunology from the Australian National University in Canberra, where she investigated the contribution of the germinal centre response to humoral autoimmunity with Prof. Carola Vinuesa. Following her PhD, Michelle undertook post-doctoral research with Prof. Ken Smith at the University of Cambridge, where she continued to work on the formation, function and suppression of the germinal centre response.
Dr Alex Marson
Alex Marson is Director of the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology and Associate Professor in the UCSF Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases. He serves as the scientific director for Human Health at the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) and is a member of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub investigator. Work in Dr. Marson’s lab aims to understand the genetic programs controlling human immune cell function in health and disease, with an emphasis on developing and applying CRISPR genome engineering tools to primary immune cells, especially T cells. Combining genomics and gene editing approaches, the lab works to assess the consequences of coding and noncoding genetic variation on immune cell function and autoimmune disease risk and to genetically engineer human immune cells to target cancer, autoimmunity, and infectious diseases.
Local Symposia Speakers
Dr Michelle Baker
Dr Michelle Baker is a Principal Research Scientist the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness. She has a PhD from the University of Queensland and postdoctoral training at the University of New Mexico in the US. Dr Baker’s current research is in the area of antiviral immunity, in particular, the innate immune response of reservoir hosts including bats which are hosts to a variety of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases that affect humans. Her research team has made significant progress in characterizing the immune system of the model bat species, the Australian black flying fox and the responses of bat cells to infection with highly pathogenic viruses including the paramyxovirus, Hendra virus and the filovirus, Ebola virus. More recently her team has developed human 3D cell culture models for studying emerging infectious diseases such as SARS-CoV-2 and testing antivirals.
Dr Patrick Bertolino
Patrick Bertolino is head of the Liver Immunology program and faculty member at the Centenary Institute in Sydney, Australia. His group has made major contributions to Liver Immunology and he is acknowledged as the leader in this field in Australia and in the world. He obtained his PhD in Lyon (France) in 1992 and after three post-doctoral positions at the WEHI (Melbourne), ENS-Lyon (France), he moved to Sydney where he started his own group in 2011 at the Centenary Institute. For the last 25 years, his research has focused on understanding the parameters that determine the balance between tolerance and immunity in the liver, an organ known for its ability to induce tolerance. His group has developed unique transgenic mouse models and uses advanced imaging technology and flow cytometry technologies to dissect how T cells interact and are instructed by hepatic cells in both the healthy and diseased or transplanted liver. More recently, he has extended his research interest to liver macrophages.
Prof Robert Brink
Prof Robert Brink obtained his PhD in 1992 from the University of Sydney (Centenary Institute), studying the mechanisms that prevent autoantibody production by self-reactive B cells. He worked at the Whitehead Institute in Boston from 1994-96 before returning to the Centenary Institute where he developed a series of genetically modified mouse models to investigate antibody responses and lymphocyte development. In 2006 Prof Brink was recruited to the Garvan Institute in Sydney to head the B Cell Biology group. He served as Head of the Institute’s Immunology Division and established the MEGA facility for production of GM mice using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. His major research focus is the regulation of B cell survival and antibody production during immune and autoimmune responses with particular interest in the regulation and function of the germinal centre reaction. He also currently heads Translation Science at the Garvan Institute and working on the development of antibody- and CRISPR/Cas9-based therapies.
A/Prof Anne Brüstle
Anne Brüstle is Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University in Canberra. Her work centres around the autoimmune, neurodegenerative condition multiple sclerosis (MS). Her group investigates key immune populations driving the pathogenesis of this devastating disease such as the Il-17 producing Th17 cells using laboratory model systems to understand the underlying biological principals. A/Prof Brüstle leads the MS research of a large multidisciplinary project aiming to improve disease monitoring and treatment utilising personalised approaches. Anne completed her PhD in Human Biology 2008 at the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Philipps-University in Marburg, Germany. She was recruited to ANU in mid 2014, after being a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, Canada.
Dr Vanessa Bryant
Dr Vanessa Bryant is Co-Chair of the ASI Clinical Immunology Special Interest Group. Dr Bryant leads the Immunogenetics Lab at WEHI and is a Clinical Scientist at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. Her research aims to solve the underlying genomic and functional causes of rare disorders of the immune system, focusing on the variable disorder Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), both as a primary immunodeficiency in itself, and as a model for other complex immune disorders. Dr Bryant is the inaugural Sir Clive McPherson Family Research Fellow and a Royal Melbourne Hospital DW Keir Fellow. She completed her PhD in immunology at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney with Prof. Stuart Tangye, before performing her postdoctoral research with Prof. Jean-Laurent Casanova at The Rockefeller University in New York. Dr Bryant also co-leads COVID PROFILE, a longitudinal clinical study of immunity to COVID-19.
A/Prof Melissa Call
Associate Professor Melissa Call received her PhD in Molecular Medicine from the University of Auckland was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School where she studied the mechanisms of peptide-exchange in the MHC class II peptide-presentation pathway. She has been Laboratory Head in the Structural Biology Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute since 2011. Her research, focussed on the single-pass receptors of white blood cells, brings novel approaches to elucidating how membrane embedded sequences dictate receptor function and brings engineering solutions to improve chimeric antigen receptor design.
A/Prof Anna Coussens
A/Prof Anna Coussens is a Laboratory head in the Infectious Diseases and Immune Defence Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) and Contributing Investigator at the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases in Africa, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Awarded a PhD in Molecular Developmental Biology from Queensland University of Technology, she then spent a decade working in the UK and South Africa on tuberculosis (TB) clinical trials and experimental medicine studies, before joining WEHI in 2018. As an innate immunologist her research focuses on identifying biomarkers of infection and molecular mechanisms governing early stages of human TB pathogenesis. This includes genetic and epigenetic changes in both host and bacteria and how these impact the inflammatory response during infection. She translates insights gained from her clinical cohorts into developing pre-clinical human cellular models of TB host-pathogen interactions, and the impact of HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 co-infections.
Dr Andrew Currie
Dr Currie co-heads the Neonatal Infection and Immunity Team with Neonatologist Clinical Prof Tobias Strunk at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccine & Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute and leads the Sepsis Diagnostics Research Group with the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics. As a basic scientist with over 20 years of experience in the fields of immunology and infectious disease, his current research combines current cellular and molecular ‘omics’ methodologies with primary human and animal samples, to understand how the immune system contributes to defence against infection in sepsis.
A/Prof Elissa Deenick
A/Prof Elissa Deenick studies the regulation of T and B cell activation and function and how this contributes to the pathology of human immune disease. Elissa undertook her PhD at the Centenary Institute/University of Sydney with Phil Hodgkin and postdoctoral training with Pam Ohashi at the University of Toronto/Ontario Cancer Institute. She is now a Scientia A/Prof at UNSW Sydney, head of the Lymphocyte Signalling and Activation laboratory and co-lead of the Immunology program at the Garvan Institute. In particular her research involves the combined analysis of lymphocytes from patients with immune-mediated diseases and novel mouse models that recapitulate human disease. This powerful approach allows deep functional and mechanistic analysis of lymphocyte behavior and has enabled breakthroughs in the understanding of disease pathophysiology.
Prof Heidi Drummer
Professor Heidi Drummer is Program Director for Disease elimination at the Burnet Institute, and Scientific Director of the Burnet Diagnostics Initiative. She is vice-president of the Australasian Virology Society and past-President of the Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology. Her research has focussed on the development of vaccines for Hepatitis C including new vaccine candidates and is a strong advocate for the need to develop a prophylactic vaccine to assist improved treatments, diagnostics and harm reduction to reach WHO elimination targets.
Prof Christian Engwerda
Christian Engwerda studies the behaviour of T cells during parasitic infections. His group investigates how T cell responses are regulated during infection and uses this knowledge to develop new approaches to treat disease. Chris established his laboratory at QIMR Berghofer in 2003 as a NHMRC career Development Fellow, after spending 8 years at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and works with experimental models of malaria and leishmaniasis. In recent years, his group’s research has increasingly focused on studying samples from volunteers deliberately infected with parasites, as well as from malaria and leishmaniasis patients. The goal of his research is to improve anti-parasitic immunity using host-directed treatments in combination with vaccines and/or anti-parasitic drugs. He is also using his discoveries in parasitic diseases to guide development of new treatments for chronic inflammatory diseases.
Prof Richard Ferrero
I am a Research Group Leader at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research and hold adjunct Professorial positions at Monash University. In 1994, I was appointed to a tenured researcher position at the institute, where I subsequently developed an independent research group. In 2004, I returned to Australia to firstly take up a research/teaching academic position in the Department of Microbiology (Monash University) and then, in 2009, was recruited to my current position. My main research interests span the fields of Helicobacter pylori, bacterial membrane vesicles, NOD-like receptor proteins, and innate immunology. Our research has translated to important outcomes in the areas of H. pylori pathogenesis, vaccine development and innate immunology. This research has been published in leading journals i.e. Cell Host Microb., Gastroenterol., Immunity, Nat Rev Immunol., Nat Immunol. and PNAS. I hold positions on the Editorial Board of Helicobacter, the International Scientific Committee of “The International Workshop on Pathogenesis in Helicobacter infections”, and abstract review panels for major international conferences in the fields of gastroenterology and H. pylori research.
Prof Andrew Files
Andrew Flies completed a BSc at Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2002, with minors in Chemistry and Math. He then transitioned to immunology and worked at The Mayo Clinic (2003-2004) and Johns Hopkins University (2004-2006) where his primary responsibility was developing and testing monoclonal antibodies for mouse cancer models and in vitro human assays. He earned his PhD from Michigan State University in December 2012. His research studied the effects of ecology on the immune system of a large carnivore and spent nearly a year living in a tent in the Maasia Mara, Kenya to collect behavioural observations and biological samples. His focus since 2014 has been on the development of vaccines and reagent development (e.g. recombinant proteins, antibodies) for non-model species. His recent publications focus on an adenovirus-based cancer vaccine (Expert Review of Vaccines, 2020), rapid immunology reagent development (Science Advances, 2020), “Rewilding immunology (Science, 2020), and regulation immune evasion by cancer cells (Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, 2021).
Prof Stephanie Gras
Professor Stephanie Gras is the head of the Viral and Structural Immunology lab at La Trobe University. She is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and led a lab of currently 16 staff/students within the department of Biochemistry and Genetics. Her lab focus on the T cell response towards infections, especially viruses (SARS-CoV-2, HIV and influenza), to understand the molecular mechanism of an effective immune response. Her lab seeks to understand what trigger T cells in a view of using the information to generate therapeutics and vaccines that will activate T cells and provide long live immunity. She has successfully secured funding from the ARC, NHMRC, and MRFF, and published over 110 peer-review articles in top journals (Science, Nature, Nature Immunology, Immunity, Science Immunology).
Dr Branka Grubor-Bauk
Dr Grubor-Bauk is the Head of Viral Immunology at the Adelaide Medical School. She trained as a virologist, immunologist, and vaccine scientist and after postdoctoral training and a period in Biotech, she now leads a collaborative research program with basic science and translational components. The lab is focused on the development of promising Zika virus, hepatitis C and HIV vaccines, and recently SARS-CoV-2, employing various cutting edge techniques in viral vaccine design and development, supported by broad experience in animal models, including infection models, in vitro and in vivo vaccine validation assays (antigen presentation, B, T cell assays, in vivo epitope mapping, fluorescent target array assay), multi-parametric flow cytometry, antibody and cytokine assays (ELISA, neutralisation assays, intracellular cytokine staining).
Prof Nicole La Gruta
Professor Nicole La Gruta is an ARC Future Fellow and head of the T cell development and function laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University. She completed postdoctoral studies at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tennessee, before returning to Melbourne in 2002 with Prof Peter Doherty at the University of Melbourne. Nicole was recruited to Monash University in 2016 where she undertakes a comprehensive program of research to elucidate the key determinants of T cell immunity in the context of viral infection, autoimmunity, and in advanced age.
Prof Phil Hansbro
Professor Phil Hansbro is the Director of the Centre for Inflammation, Centenary Institute and University of Technology Sydney, Deputy Direct of Centenary and a Conjoint Professor in the Priority Research Centre for Healthy Lungs at the Hunter Medical Research Institute and University of Newcastle, Australia. He is also an NHMRC Investigator. He has established internationally renowned research programs in infections, COPD, asthma, IPF and recently lung cancer. His group has developed several novel mouse models of the important diseases (COPD, severe, steroid-insensitive asthma, early life infection, influenza, COVID-19 & lung cancer). He has interrogated these models (immune, histological, pathological, lung function & molecular analysis) to substantially further our understanding of pathogenesis and to develop novel therapies. He performs complimentary collaborative clinical and multi-disciplinary studies and collaborates widely. He publishes extensively in influential journals (>400) and he is regularly invited to present internationally including as plenary and to chair sessions. He has a substantial funding record of obtaining nationally competitive grants that support his group. He undertakes substantial mentoring and supervision activities of junior researchers, regularly sits on grant review panels and is on the editorial board of 4 journals. He is an active advocate for respiratory research in lobby groups and is regularly in the press promoting research and funding.
Prof Nicola Harris
Nicola Harris was born in New Zealand where she completed her undergraduate studies and PhD thesis. In 2002 she moved to Switzerland as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of the Nobel Laureate Rolf Zinkernagel at the University of Zurich, then later as an Assistant Professor at the ETH Zurich. In August 2009 joined the Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (SVRI), EPFL, Lausanne, where she was promoted to Associate Professor and gained a prestigious ERC starting grant. In 2018 she moved to Melbourne, Australia where she is currently laboratory head and NHMRC senior research fellow, located within the Department of Immunology and Pathology, Monash University, Central Clinical School, Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct. Her laboratory studies type two immune responses with a particular focus on understanding their role in immune protection, physiology and wound repair/tissue regeneration both in health and following intestinal inflammation or infection.
A/Prof Sumaira Hasnain
Sumaira Hasnain graduated with her PhD in December 2010 from The University of Manchester. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland with a team of 6 researchers. A/Prof Hasnain was the first globally to demonstrate that immunity can modulate protein production in secretory cells in infection and chronic diseases. She has a rapid upward trajectory in research, evident by extensive body of high-quality publications including in Nature Medicine, Oncogene and Gastroenterology. She has been awarded more than $5 million in competitive funding and has won 19 awards to date, including the Tall Poppy Award and the Gordon Ada Award by ASI in 2020.
Prof Ian Hermans
Ian Hermans is a cellular immunologist at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Wellington, New Zealand. He developed an interest in therapeutic cancer vaccines while working as a post-doctoral fellow with Professor Franca Ronchese at the institute, and then with Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK. He is a co-founder of Avalia Immunotherapies, a NZ-based company tasked with commercialising these products for use in cancer and infectious diseases. He also established a Good Manufacturing Practice laboratory to manufacture cell-based immunotherapies, now being used to conduct New Zealand’s first trial of CAR T cell therapy. More recent interests include new strategies to modulate the tumour microenvironment to improve responses to immunotherapy, conducted in collaboration with medicinal chemistry teams at the Ferrier Research Institute (Victoria University of Wellington) and the University of Auckland.
Prof Thomas Kay
Professor Thomas Kay is the Director of St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. As an endocrinologist and clinical immunologist, he leads the Victorian node of the Australian Islet Transplant Consortium. His research interests include the immune mechanisms by which insulin producing beta cells are destroyed in diabetes. He and his colleagues currently lead the BANDIT trial – a phase 2 trial of baricitinib in new onset type 1 diabetes. Professor Kay is an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne, an Honorary Endocrinologist at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and an Honorary Visiting Professor at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Professor Kay has been a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences since 2016 and, was appointed to the Board of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI) in 2020. Professor Kay is President-elect of the International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association (IPITA) and the immediate Past President of The Immunology of Diabetes Society (IDS).
Prof Roslyn Kemp
I have a background in fundamental T cell biology in the context of homeostasis and cancer. My current work focuses on the local immune response in people with colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases. Specifically, I study the role of inflammation and the unique features of different subsets of T cells and myeloid cells; and how these cell subsets are involved in patient outcome.
Prof Katherine Kedzierska
Prof Katherine Kedzierska is Deputy Head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. Her PhD work was recognised by the 2001 Premier’s Commendation for Medical Research, 2002 Monash University Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal and an NHMRC Peter Doherty Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue her postdoctoral research with Laureate Professor Peter Doherty at University of Melbourne. Her research interests include human T cell immunity to pandemic, seasonal and newly emerged respiratory viruses, anti-viral immunity in the young, the elderly and Indigenous Australians, viral escape and generation of immunological memory in human viral infection. She also studies human immunity to SARS-CoV2 in COVID-19 patients. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Hokkaido University, Japan. In 2019, she was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science (AAHMS).
Prof Anthony Kelleher
Professor Anthony (Tony) Kelleher is a clinician scientist. Professor Kelleher was appointed Director of the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney in early 2019. He is also Head of the Kirby Institute’s Immunovirology and Pathogenesis Program, and Principal of the Infection, Immunology and Inflammation Theme at UNSW Medicine and Triple-I Clinical academic group of the Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre (AHRTC) SPHERE. As a clinical academic at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Professor Kelleher is responsible for clinical care of patients with HIV infection and autoimmune diseases as well as oversight of the NSW State HIV Reference laboratory. He has played a role in multiple phase 1 to phase 4 clinical trials and cohort studies exploring the treatment and prevention of HIV infection, especially in the conduct of correlative laboratory-based studies. In the last 18 months he has pursued the development of passive immunotherapies for COVID-19.
Prof Tania de Koning-Ward
Tania de Koning-Ward is a NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Molecular Microbiology in the School of Medicine at Deakin University. Here she heads a vibrant research team, with the main focus of her research being the dissection of key interactions that occur between malaria parasites and their host cells. Her laboratory uses the most cutting-edge approaches to genetically engineer human and rodent malaria parasites. Phenotype characterisation of these transgenic parasites, including in in vivo malaria infection models, at a molecular, cellular and biochemical level enable a deeper understanding of how malaria parasites secure their survival inside their host and cause disease. The overarching aim of Tania’s research is to use this knowledge to rationally identify new targets for malaria vaccine and drug development.
Dr Sarah Londrigan
Dr Sarah Londrigan completed her PhD Research at Melbourne University, where she identified novel cell surface receptors for rotavirus entry during infection of host cells. Sarah’s postdoctoral research at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Australia involved creating immunomodulatory adenoviruses that generated local immunosuppression during islet transplantation to treat type I diabetes. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow leading a small research team in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Melbourne University at the Peter Doherty Institute, funded through competitively awarded National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants. Her current research projects involve understanding the entry pathways of respiratory viruses into host cells, and how airway immune cells control virus replication. Sarah plays an active role in research related activities supporting immunology and promoting women in science, particularly through the Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WiSPP) group.
A/Prof Fabio Luciani
Associate Professor Fabio Luciani is a senior researcher (NHMRC Research Fellow) in Systems Immunology at the School of Medical Sciences and at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney. He has a PhD degree in Theoretical Immunology and Biophysics (2006) from the Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany). He is a theoretical physicist (Masters, Bologna University Italy) with training and research experience in immunology, genomics, statistics, computational biology, bioinformatics. His current research focusses on utilizing single cell technologies to study adaptive immune responses and cellular therapies against viral infections and cancer. He has developed and applied single cell genomics and systems immunology approaches to understand T cell dynamics.
Prof David Lynn
David has an international track record (having worked in Canada, Ireland and Australia) in systems immunology; following a PhD at University College Dublin and a postdoctoral position at Trinity College Dublin, he moved to Vancouver (working at both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia) where he was awarded a prestigious Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship to develop systems immunology approaches to model how the innate immune system responds to infection. Since 2014, he has been an EMBL Australia Group Leader at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and at Flinders University. In 2019, David was promoted to Director of the Computational and Systems Biology Program at SAHMRI, one of 17 Programs/Divisions in the Institute. He is also founding Scientific Director of the SA Genomics Centre. His research spans from computational modelling and bioinformatics software development through to multi-omics approaches and more classical immunology and employs a wide range of preclinical mouse models (including gnotobiotic) as well as clinical cohort studies and randomised controlled trials.
A/Prof Cindy Ma
Associate Professor Cindy Ma co-heads the Immunology and Immunodeficiency laboratory and is a member of faculty at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. She holds a conjoint appointment at St Vincent’s Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health at UNSW Sydney. Her research interests lie in the study of human diseases of the immune system, including immunodeficiency, allergy and autoimmunity. A large focus has been on primary immunodeficiencies; rare inborn errors of immunity caused by germline mutations in single genes that have crucial roles in the mammalian immune system. Her lab investigates the role of the molecules encoded by these genes, and the pathways they involve, in the development, differentiation and effector function of human lymphocytes. The goal is to identify the molecular mechanism(s) underlying disease pathogenesis in these inborn errors of immunity, and to advance our understanding of the fundamental concepts required for a functioning human adaptive immune system.
Prof Fabienne Mackay
Professor Fabienne Mackay is the Director and CEO of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. She joined QIMR Berghofer in May 2020, having been the inaugural Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences and Head of the Department of Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, at the University of Melbourne since 2015.
Professor Mackay studied Medicine and Biomedical Engineering before obtaining her PhD in Molecular Biology and Immunology from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France. She started her research career in the biotech industry at Biogen Inc. in Boston. In 1999, she joined the Garvan Institute in Sydney as Director of the Autoimmunity Research Unit, and in 2009 she was recruited as Head of the Department of Immunology at Monash University. Professor Mackay was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2016.
Her major research interest relates to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and leukemia.
Prof Stephen Nutt
Dr Nutt completed his PhD research at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna Austria, where identified the key role played by Pax5 in B cell biology. In 2001 he moved to the Immunology Division of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute to establish a research program focussing on lymphocyte differentiation. In 2016, he was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and is a Professor at the University of Melbourne. Throughout his career Dr Nutt has been intrigued the regulatory logic used by immune cells in making cell fate decisions and particularly how a select group of transcription factors act as the master regulators to program the immune response. Deregulated expression and function of many of these master regulators results in human diseases including autoimmunity and blood cell cancers.
A/Prof Ivan Poon
Associate Professor Ivan Poon completed his PhD at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (Australian National University) with Professor Christopher Parish and joined La Trobe University in 2009 as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Mark Hulett. In 2011, he joined the Center for Cell Clearance (University of Virginia) with Professor Kodi Ravichandran as a visiting Assistant Professor and returned to La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) in 2014 to establish his independent laboratory. Dr Poon is currently a NHMRC EL2 Investigator Fellow.
Dr Poon’s laboratory (Apoptotic Cell Disassembly and Clearance laboratory) studies how and why dying cells disassemble into smaller fragments during apoptosis. Dr Poon’s team has defined (i) key aspects in the molecular machinery that regulate this disassembly process during cell death, (ii) the importance of this process in disease settings, and (iii) identified drugs that target this process.
A/Prof Kristen Radford
Professor Kristen Radford leads the Cancer Immunotherapies Group at Mater Research, University of Queensland at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane Australia. Her research is focussed on understanding the biology of human dendritic cells in health and disease and translating this knowledge to develop new immunotherapies. She first characterised the rare human cDC1 dendritic cell subtype that is required for inducing anti-tumour and anti-viral immune responses and is now pursuing the therapeutic potential of this discovery to develop novel cancer vaccines. Prof Radford has published 55 papers and attracted over $6 million in national and international funding. Her work has been recognised by many awards including NSW Young Australian of the Year, NHMRC CDF2 Fellowship, the Sr Regis Mary Dunne Medal for Outstanding Research Contribution. Prof Radford co-leads the Mater Cancer Program and is a Fulbright Future Scholar and Visiting Professor at the Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai, New York. She also founded the Humanized Mouse Program at TRI, which uses innovative next-generation models for understanding human immunology and more rapid and reliable preclinical immunotherapy drug development.
Prof Sudha Rao
Professor Sudha Rao has extensive experience in transcriptional biology and genomic technologies that spans both pharmaceutical and academic settings. The primary focus of Sudha’s research group has been to unravel complex epigenetic-signatures in the immune system, as well as to understand the deregulatory mechanisms operating in cancer settings as well as the role of epigenetic regulation in viral infection. She has obtained her BSC (Hons.) degree at Keele University, UK. PhD from the University of London, Kings College in 2000. During her time in industry, she worked in drug discovery and clinical trials, developing drugs to tackle respiratory diseases, COPD, and asthma, paving the way for her current clinical epigenetics-based therapeutics and biomarker program and industrial partnerships. Her work has led to translational outcomes, an international patent portfolio, and EpiAxis Therapeutics, of which she is founder, director, and CSO (until commencing at QIMRB, 2020), with a successful completed clinical trial.
Prof Franca Ronchese
Franca trained at the University of Padova, Italy, and then as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Ron Germain at NIH, USA. Franca then joined the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland, where she became interested in antigen presentation by dendritic cells in vivo. Since 1994 Franca has been leading the Immune Cell Biology group at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington, NZ. Her current work examines dendritic cell diversity during the initiation of CD4+ helper T cell responses with a particular focus on allergic immunity.
Prof Sarah Russell
Sarah Russell is an immunologist and cell biologist, interested in understanding how the fate of immune cell development is controlled. Her major focus is on T cells: how they develop, how they respond to pathogens and cancer, and how errors in their development can lead to leukemia. To achieve this, she has a joint position at Swinburne University and the PeterMac, where she combines immunological expertise with expertise in physic and mathematics for single cell analysis.
Prof Matthew Sweet
Matt Sweet is an NHMRC Leadership Fellow and Group Leader at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), The University of Queensland. His laboratory studies the innate immune system, with an emphasis on the roles of Toll-like receptors, their signalling components, and their downstream target genes in regulating infectious and inflammatory disease processes. Matt’s recent work has focused on roles for immune cell metabolism in controlling inflammatory and antimicrobial pathways in macrophages, including the development of approaches to manipulate immunometabolism for combating infectious and inflammatory diseases.
Prof Phil Sutton
Phil Sutton studied Biomedical Science at Bradford University in the UK before completing a PhD in Immunology at Manchester University. He moved to Australia in 1992 for his first postdoctoral position, and apart from a brief spell at Institut Pasteur de Lille in France, has been here ever since. Phil has extensive experience in academia and industry, including a period as Immunology Group Leader within the R&D division of CSL Limited where he primarily worked on new vaccine technologies. During 30 years of research, his chronic lack of focus has resulted in the application of immunology to such fields as organ transplantation, fungal pathogenesis, parasitology, bacterial pathogenesis, the design of novel vaccines and the host regulation of inflammatory diseases. He has been head of Mucosal Immunology group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute since 2012. Most recently his research group at MCRI has investigated how specific host factors contribute to the susceptibility or resistance to inflammatory diseases caused by mucosal pathogens, and how these might be targeted to develop new drug therapies/immunomodulatory vaccines.
Prof Joe Trapani
Joe Trapani is Head of the Cancer Immunology Program at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Melbourne, and until recently was Peter Mac’s Executive Director Cancer Research (2009-2018) and Inaugural Head of the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology at The University of Melbourne (2012-18). In 2018, he was appointed Director of the new Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy for Peter Mac and the VCCC partners.
With his colleagues, Professor Trapani has since 1995 been devising CAR T therapy – using gene engineering approaches to harness the power of killer lymphocytes as adoptive immunotherapy for various cancers. Joe’s team has further identified a rare group of children with inherited defects of perforin and shown that they more frequently develop leukaemia.
A/Prof Linda Wakim
A/Prof Linda Wakim (ARC Future Fellow, NHMRC Investigaror Fellow L1) is a mucosal immunologist, whose research focuses on harnessing local cellular immunity to protect against respiratory pathogens. A/Prof Wakim completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne and then completed postdoctoral training as a NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA and as a NHMRC CDF at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. In 2014, she established a research laboratory at the Doherty Institute, and is currently working towards developing improved vaccines and treatment approaches for respiratory infections.
Dr Adam Wheatley
Dr Adam Wheatley is Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, housed within the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity. After studying at ANU and University of Melbourne, he undertook post-doctoral training at the Vaccine Research Center, NIH, USA. There he focused upon defining correlates of immune protection following clinical immunisation trials and characterising humoral immunity elicited to experimental HIV and influenza vaccines. He returned to the University of Melbourne in 2015 to continue his research, where his team focuses upon understanding mechanisms to generate broad and lasting antibody-based protection against viral diseases such as influenza and SARS-CoV-2. Specific interests include the control of B cell trafficking, germinal centre and memory formation, the basis for cross-reactive recognition of antigenically diverse pathogens by antibody, and the rational design and pre-clinical testing of novel vaccine concepts.
A/Prof Connie Wong
A/Prof. Connie Wong is a current CSL Centenary Fellow, head of the Neuroinflammation Research Group and Deputy Director of Monash Centre for Inflammatory Diseases. The focus of Connie’s research is investigating the pathophysiology of stroke and the subsequent host inflammatory response. After completing her PhD at Monash University, Connie was trained in the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the University of Calgary in Canada and returned to Monash University in 2013, before heading her own lab in 2015. Connie has published >50 journal articles, including first/senior author in Science, Nature Immunology and Nature Medicine. Connie has been awarded with multiple awards including “The Centenary Institute Lawrence Creative Prize” in 2013 and Victorian Tall Poppy award in 2017. Her research is funded by NHMRC and National Heart Foundation and she is a current recipient of the CSL Centenary Fellowship.
A/Prof Michelle Wykes
Associate Professor Michelle Wykes is Group Leader of the Molecular Immunology Laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer medical Research Institute in Brisbane. She is an expert on “immune checkpoints” which are the basis for a new type of cancer treatment known as “immunotherapy”. Her research in “immune checkpoints” started when she was looking for the reason Plasmodium spp, which cause malaria, could evade immunity. Her group published a paradigm–shifting study which showed Programmed cell death-1 ligand 2 was essential for immunity. This line of research, published in Immunity, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Nature Reviews Immunology, has led to several patents, funding and an award to develop novel treatments for cancer and autoimmunity.