Great news in the Kent Lab! Matt, Amy and Adam were all successful with CIA NHMRC Project Grants – amazing!! 3 for 3!... Even though the overall national success rate is less than 20%. They are all on their way to great scientific careers – Stephen is very proud! Amy also won a prestigious amfAR Krim Fellowship.
Huge news also – Sarah and Hyon-Xhi passed their PhD theses with only minimal comments. Well done to both! Fernanda and Josh are now writing up.
Matt, Kevin and Wen Shi recently gave great presentations at the R4P HIV vaccine conference in Chicago. Kevin had a really good paper accepted into AIDS recently – congratulations! Amy has given some nice talks in Amsterdam, London, Edinburgh and Beijing.
The other big news is our lab’s expansion! We have three new research assistants starting - Robyn, Kathleen and Ester. We have a new PhD student, Julius Wong, starting in Jan 2017 and Hannah is helping Stephen co-supervise a PhD student from Monash Pharmacy – Song Khor.
Our Lab Christmas function is coming up soon at Tsubu Bar and Anne is busy organising fun and games! I hope you all have a great break over the holidays!
Big news ….. we had a successful lab ski trip to Mt Buller. The weather was kind and our first-time or near first-time skiers Wen Shi, Kevin, Yi and Fernanda improved in leaps and bounds, sometimes with a few bruises! Stephen tortured the group in the evening by making them all provide 4 suggestions on how to improve the lab. Who would have thought that after a glass of wine or beer there was no shortage of advice coming in! We hope the lab will continue to be an interesting and enjoyable place to work. Jane did an amazing job organizing all the logistics – thanks Jane.
In other news Jennifer Juno has started as a new post-doc. Hannah Kelly will be starting with us shortly and Julius Wong as a PhD student next year. Sarah and Hyon-Xhi have handed in their theses – well done! Sarah is overseas travelling at present and Hyon-Xhi will be working with us as a post-doc for awhile. Milla is working with us now and has her fingers crossed for a position in medical school next year. Fernanda has started writing up her thesis – so far it’s coming along well!
Plenty of travel and conferences lately. Much of the lab attended and presented at the International Congress of Immunology in Melbourne recently. Hillary however was presenting her work at the Options Flu conference in the US and visiting her family in Canada. Josh is off to a nano-medicine conference in Paris soon. Amy is giving talks at conferences and meetings in Amsterdam, Edinburgh and London! Stephen, Kevin, Wen Shi and Matt are going to the HIV prevention (“R4P”) conference in Chicago. Locally Vinca is going to a Flow Cytometry workshop in Sydney and Milla and Kevin are going to the HIV conference in Adelaide in the coming months.
Welcome back to the Blog! After some University website reorganization issues (don’t ask…. Grrrr) we're back brighter than ever. Many thanks to our website guru Alan Woodgyer for his perseverance!
BIG NEWS! We passed the 200 publications mark! We had a great celebration recently at a restaurant in Hardware lane - Josh organized a great night as he was the 1st author of number 200. Bring on #250! There are murmurings about a lab ski trip!
Too much news to fill in in any detail over the last 6 months - very briefly - Anne is back after successfully defending her Masters, Milla is doing a great 3rd year prac project with us, Dr Vijaya is graduating soon, Rob and Wendy have moved on to new ventures but continue to keep an eagle eye on co-supervised students, Jennifer is starting soon we hope, great papers from Hillary, Adam, Fernanda, Josh, Wen Shi, Hyon-Xhi and Sarah lately – what a great group of students we have. Sarah’s paper, "High fidelity mutants less fit than wild type SIV in vitro and in vivo" was highlighted recently in the Virology Highlights Blog. Vinca, Thakshila and Sriveni are doing an excellent job with some big trials at present and keeping us all on track.
Stephen attended the Cent-Gardes Conference on HIV Vaccine in France, see if you can spot him in the photo opposite.
Lots of progress with all our great students at present – Hillary and Fernanda recently sailed through PhD committee presentations; William is back to medical school after a great elective – his project is being ably take over by Anne; Hyon-Xhi has submitted a paper, Wen Shi and Josh are working on putting papers together at present; Vijaya has submitted her PhD and is now working with us as a postdoc for the next year or so on our Australia-India collaboration; Kevin continues to generate great data and is a real asset to the lab; Shay gave an excellent PhD oration and is working towards submitting her thesis before too long.
Wendy has moved on to 2 great jobs (Prostate foundation and Affinity Bio) and there were many farewells at various levels! We wish her all the best and no doubt will see her from time to time – she’s still an honorary member of our department and is helping co-supervise Sarah through her last year of her PhD.
We had our NHMRC program grant 3 day meeting in Queensland recently and Rob, Matt, Adam and Amy gave excellent presentations. Stephen has been in Indonesia recently at a meeting and catching up with collaborators there (see photo below).
Our new expanded lab is going well. Vinca counted up we have something like 22 people at present! We’ve been reorganising things like the lab meeting and various routine jobs to keep the lab running smoothly. Our latest addition, PhD student Kevin from Singapore, is fitting in really well and already generating interesting data with Matt’s help.
We recently had a lab mini-retreat over a pleasant lunch at Denmark House (see photo). They had lovely open sandwiches. Anne, our Danish Masters student, approved. She feels like if she can just get a nice dose of Danish rye bread from time to time that life will be pretty good in Australia! We had presentations from Stephen, Ivan, Rob, Matt, Wendy, Adam and Amy letting everyone know their plans over the next couple of years. Stephen also presented some information from a recent Doherty institute meeting which is working towards getting all the partners of the Doherty working even closer together.
Lots of birthdays recently also in the lab so opportunities for cake and embarrassing singing of happy birthday. You can see one of the cakes on our new instagram page @kentlaboratory. Check out our lab facebook page also @kentlaboratory. I’m trying to link these sites from our webpage at some stage also but the University web administrators move in mysterious and very slow ways!
March 2015Stephen has recently returned from a rather epic hike. He hiked for 25 days down the southern half of the West Coast of Tasmania with his friend Greg (see a few photos). No tracks, no campsites to speak of, no huts, no mobile phone coverage, didn’t see a soul. They lost quite a bit of weight but are busy putting it back on. There were all sorts of adventures along the way. Our motto was “You know you’re alive”. He’s very grateful for the perseverance of his lab members for their hard work, dedication and professionalism while he was away – a real credit to everyone.
Photos of Kent personnel on their recent trip to NARI, India
Another year coming to a close. Shay has had 2 nice papers in J Virol coming out, and the lab has multiple other papers in various stages – a very successful publishing year.
Thakshila has been continuing on with Caroline’s MAIT cell work very adeptly and we hope to have a honors student on this project next year. Thakshila continues to do a great job organizing our regulatory compliance. Vinca has been working with both Rob and Josh on the multiple nanoparticle collaborations as well as with Sri from Monash on a novel T cell epitope study.
Sarah has been busy with presentations at local meetings. Hyon-Xhi is off to a course in Hong Kong on mucosal immunity and then early next year is attending a Keystone meeting as well as visiting collaborators in cold Minnesota. Fernanda is also attending the Keystone viral immunology meeting and also spending time in Denis Burton’s lab in San Diego as well as visiting home over Xmas. Vijaya is writing her thesis up and will be visiting the labs of our collaborators in Pune in India over several weeks early next year. She recently attended a dinner at the MCG with the Australian and Indian prime ministers so is keeping good company! Shay is busy with her last project and hopes to be writing up her PhD during the first half of 2015. Wen Shi has a very successful honors year and we hope he’ll be back for a PhD next year.
Rob is busy keeping Josh and Hyon-Xhi on track. Matt has had a ton of papers out this year and has a series of projects on the go. Marit attended our NHMRC program retreat, together with daughter Lily, and is on maternity leave. Ivan is busy with his B cell isolation studies in collaboration with Duke University. Wendy is involved with a number of monoclonal Ab projects.
We have a number of PhD students interested in starting with us next year that is exciting and some senior post-docs are considering returning to Australia that will also be fantastic. Watch this space for our expansion plans!
Going away lab lunch for Swarali at Lygon St Pizza place.
Malaysian curry night at Wendy's.
Stephen and Peter Doherty at the ARC CoE launch.
Collaborator Frank Caruso (L) with Tom Davis and head of ARC.
Kent lab out in force at the AIDS 2014 conference.
Dinner with our friends from India and also Hillary.