Post Doctoral Fellows
Dr Amy Chung
Dr Amy Chung completed her PhD with our group in 2011 and was then awarded both an NHMRC CJ Martin award and an Australia-America fellowship to work with Dr Galit Alter at Harvard University/Ragon Institute. She had a highly successful post-doc there with first authored publications in Science Translational Medicine and cell. She returns on the Australian leg of her NHMRC CJ Martin fellowship to set up projects on novel aspects of antibody immunity. She is studying aspects of “Systems Serology” (see Chung et al, Cell 2015) whereby a complete picture of functional antibody responses is analysed to HIV, TB and other pathogens. She has developed novel multiplex assays to generate this broad picture of antibody immunity. She is supervising a PhD student, Matthew Worley, and a Research Assistant. She has received University of Melbourne Early Career grants and a D’Esterre-Taylor Charitable Trust grant to continue her work.
Dr Adam Wheatley
Dr Adam Wheatley completed his PhD in this department in 2010. He then worked as a post-doctoral scientist at the NIH’s Vaccine Research Centre in the US with Drs Rick Koup, Adrian McDermott and others. He is now both helping to develop novel nano-medicine projects and is developing insight into B cell and antibody based immunity projects to influenza and HIV. In particular, he is pioneering haemagluttin fluorescent probes to study Influenza B cell biology and drive improvements in Influenza vaccines. Some of his work on this topic was published in Cell this year (Cell 2016; 166: 609-623). He is supervising PhD students, Yi Liu and Hannah Kelly. He has received an Early Career Research Grant from the University of Melbourne and he is a co-investigator on our 2016 ACH2 Award.
Dr Matt Parsons
Dr Matt Parsons completed his PhD at McGill in Canada in 2012 and joined us in Nov 2012. He is an expert in NK cell biology and HIV. He spent 6 months with us during his PhD, which was very stimulating and highly productive. He is studying subtypes of NK cells for their ability to mediate HIV-specific ADCC responses. He is also interested in how ADCC antibodies could help prevent infection with cell-associated HIV. Together with Prof. Kent, he was awarded ACH2 grants in 2014 and 2016, as well as an NHMRC Project Grant in 2015 to continue his work. He has been awarded Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Doherty Fellowships. He is supervising PhD students Wen Shi Lee and Kevin John Selva and Research Assistant Anne Kristensen.
Vijaya started a PhD with us in 2012. She is studying how HIV-specific ADCC epitopes are presented to the immune system with a view to improving the generation of immunity by HIV vaccines. She obtained her Masters in Microbiology from the University of Hyderabad in India where she topped her class. She is making great progress in investigating the presentation of ADCC epitopes, the role of antiretroviral therapy on ADCC immunity, and the breadth of ADCC recognition of HIV strains. She is also working on collaborative ADCC immunity projects with the National AIDS Research Institute in India. She will be taking up a post-doctoral position with Prof Jamie Rossjohn at Monash in January 2017.
Jennifer is a talented Canadian postdoctoral fellow who started with us in September 2016. She completed a PhD at the University of Manitoba in 2014 on aspects of HIV disease progression. She has recently been working at the National Laboratory for HIV Immunology – HIV/TB Co-infection Unit at the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg. She joins us with an interest in HIV/SIV, TB, MAIT cells, gamma-delta cells and CD1-restricted T cells. She has been awarded Canadian Institutes of Health Research and NHMRC Early Career fellowships.
Hyon Xhi graduated with a BSc (Hons) from the University of Otago NZ in 2010 where he won several prestigious awards. He hails from Malaysia originally. He started his PhD in 2013 and has developed a series of Influenza-HIV vaccines and studied their ability to induce resident memory T cells. He has developed a number of innovative in situ based staining techniques to study tissue-based immunity. He submitted his PhD thesis in August 2016 and is working with us finishing off some exciting work from his PhD. He is working with Adam to develop an understanding of influenza-specific B cell responses in tissues.
Vinca completed her Bachelor of Science (Clinical Laboratory Science) at Silliman University in the Philippines in 1994. She joined the Kent Lab in 2005 and works as a Research Technician. She is highly expert at flow cytometry including tetramer staining on T cells. She makes everyone's life easier by coordinating general lab management and maintenance. She is working on various collaborative nano-particle projects and on the “Advice” clinical trial of a PAR-1 inhibitor in HIV infection.
Thakshila is an experienced technical scientist helping with our studies of viral quantification, sequencing and flow cytometry. She obtained her science degree in Sri Lanka and is a very experienced laboratory scientist. She is also our diligent safety and compliance officer.
Anne completed the research component of her MSc from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark with us here in Melbourne and received top marks! She has now returned to our group as an expert research assistant working with Dr Matt Parsons on a series of HIV ADCC projects. She is well versed on a wide range of ADCC and NK cell assays.
Megan took over coordinating our animal facility in Geelong in 2011 but has worked with us part time for many years prior to that. She is doing a wonderful job caring for our animals and coordinating our five other part time staff members. Megan trained at Deakin both as a BSc science graduate and a registered nurse. In between all her hard work she has given birth to two lovely children!
Sriveni is working with us part time as a research assistant helping Vinca and Thakshila manage the lab so capably. Sriveni graduated with a MSc in Microbiology from Acharya Nagarjuna University in India and has experience working for a number of biotechnology companies.
Sarah is a University of Melbourne BSc (Hons) graduate, who completed her Honours year with Wendy Winnall in our lab in 2012. She constructed HIV/SIV viruses that mutate more slowly to understand how HIV/SIV evolves and causes disease. She has looked at the role and costs of reverse transcriptase fidelity, and also contributed to a series of antibody-based HIV/SIV immunity projects. She submitted her PhD thesis in August 2016.
Fernanda Ana-Sosa Batiz
Fernanda graduated with a BSc from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Mexico in 2008. She is doing her PhD on antibody-dependent phagocytosis immunity to HIV and Influenza.
Kevin John Selva
Kevin completed his BSc (Hons) at the Nanyang Technical University in Singapore and has subsequently worked as a research assistant on NK cell immunity to adenovirus infections in the eye. He joined our group to conduct a PhD on aspects of NK cell biology and ADCC immunity to HIV with Dr Matt Parsons. He is studying how factors within seminal plasma cause immune-suppression, inhibiting the ability of NK cells to mediate ADCC and enhance HIV transmission.
Wen Shi Lee
Wen Shi completed a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne in 2013 and completed First Class Honours with us in 2014. His PhD studies focus on understanding how to clear latently infected cells and cure HIV using ADCC antibodies. Wen Shi has broad skills in both ADCC immunity and HIV virology. He is also studying how viral rebound during cure therapies or treatment interruption boosts ADCC.
Hillary completed her MSc at the University of Alberta in Canada in 2011 and worked as a research assistant, laboratory coordinator and lecturer after that. She moved to Melbourne and started a PhD with us in 2014 studying ADCC immunity to influenza. She has studied ADCC immunity to internal influenza proteins, to H7N9 pandemic influenza and in response to vaccination of the elderly.
Josh completed a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science degree with Honours at the University of NSW in 2013 where he was awarded a series of medals and commendations. He has worked as a research assistant at the Garvan Insitute in Sydney before taking up a PhD position with us in early 2014. He is studying nanoparticle-based HIV vaccines as part of a large collaborative ARC Centre of Excellence award. He is collaborating widely across the 19 CIs in this Centre, becoming an expert in studying how nanoparticles interact with immune cells.
Hannah is a “Kiwi” who graduated from Victoria University of Wellington. She joins our group after working as a research assistant at Absynth Biologics Ltd, Sheffield in the UK. She is planning on working on projects related to understanding how nanoparticles interact with immune cells and could function as vaccines.
Milla undertook a 3rd year BBiomed project prac and vacation scholarship with us. She became interested in prevention of HIV after spending a semester at the University College of London during her BBiomed. She is now working with us, studying ADCC responses in vaccines of the partially successful HIV RV144 trial in Thailand. ADCC responses emerged as an important correlate of immunity in that trial.
Julius is planning to start a PhD with us early 2017 on influenza immunity projects.
Jane is a former research scientist who worked with us for many years prior to having children. She rejoined the group part time in 2015 to help us manage our large research enterprise.