Information for Prospective Students and Staff
The Kent laboratory at the University of Melbourne has had great success in training excellent PhD and Honours students over the years. Prof Kent was honoured to receive the Peter Doherty Outstanding PhD Supervisor award from the University of Melbourne. All our Honours students have achieved First Class Honours, and our PhD students are highly productive, producing several first- and co-authored scientific publications. The vast majority of our PhD students finish in under 3.5 years, well below the average time taken. Many of our Australian PhD students have gone on to receive prestigious NHMRC post doctoral fellowships or similar fellowships to continue their research. Our philosophy is that it is important for students to learn to become very productive in the scientific world and to do all we can to facilitate their move to the next stage of their career. See this link for useful advice from our colleague David O’Connor on managing a successful PhD journey.
We are always happy to hear from potential students. Interested students should review our projects and publications pages, and email their CV and transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Prospective PhD students should also see the Melbourne School of Graduate Research website for eligibility criteria and scholarship information as virtually all our students hold prestigious PhD scholarships.
The Kent laboratory has a wide range of interesting projects that will suit dedicated and inquisitive Post-doctoral Fellows. We are interested in Post-doctoral Fellows with a desire to make a difference in the viral immunology and vaccine fields. The University of Melbourne offers generous remuneration packages. More details can be found on the Human Resources website.
Recent Graduates and Post-doctoral Fellows
The Kent Laboratory is immensely proud of its former staff and students who have contributed to our research and then progressed into new fields.
A/Prof Matt Parsons completed both parts of his PhD and all his postdoctoral training with our group. He published prolifically (including in Science Trans Med and JCI) and secured an Assistant Professor position with significant start-up funding at Emory University in Atlanta, USA in 2019. He remains an honorary Kent Lab staff member.
Dr Hillary Vanderven completed a very successful PhD with us in 2018 and immediately took up a lecturer position at James Cook University in Townsville. We continue to collaborate on influenza immunity studies.
Dr Sinth Jegaskanda is a PhD graduate who took up a postdoc at the NIH in the USA to study influenza immunity. He was awarded both a CJ Martin NHMRC fellowship and an Australian-American fellowship to start his work. He returned to our department to work with Prof Cam Simmons in 2016, rejoined the Kent group in 2017. He subsequently studied patent law and has moved onto become a patent attorney in the biotechnology sector.
Dr Amy Chung obtained her PhD with the Kent lab in March 2011 and then held a post-doc position with Dr Galit Alter at Harvard/Ragon Institute. Amy was awarded a prestigious America-Australia Scholarship and a NHMRC Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship. She rejoined the Kent group in 2015 and obtained NHMRC project grant funding, NHMRC CDF funding and amfAR Krim funding. She is an NHMRC emerging leader 2 Investigator and now heads her own lab group at the University of Melbourne.
A/Prof Liyen Loh obtained her PhD in February 2010 and was awarded an NHMRC Overseas Biomedical Postdoctoral Training Fellowship to further her career in the lab of Professor Doug Nixon at UCSF in San Francisco. During her PhD, Liyen was awarded a prestigious Commendation for the 2009 Premier's Award for Health and Medical Research and the QIAGEN PhD Achievement Award. She returned to the University of Melbourne with Dr Katherine Kedzierska in our department and subsequently moved to the University of Colorado in an Assistant Professor role.
Dr Rosemarie Mason was awarded her PhD in 2009. She initially returned to Canada to a postdoctoral position at the University of Toronto. She was offered a Marie Curie and Canadian Heart Foundation Postdoctoral fellowships on her return to Canada. She is now a staff scientist with Dr Mario Roederer at the NIH’s vaccine research centre.
Dr Viv Peut obtained her PhD in December 2008, and was awarded a NHMRC Overseas based Biomedical Fellowship to further her research on HIV vaccines in the lab of Professor Julie McElrath at the Fred Hutchison Research Centre in Seattle. She returned to the University of Melbourne to work with the Turner/Doherty group, and is now working in the mining industry.
Dr Miranda Smith was awarded her PhD in March 2008, and obtained a NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship to work in the lab of Dr Annette Oxenius at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. She returned to Melbourne to work with Prof Sharon Lewin at the Doherty Institute and is now managing a large Centre of Research Excellence in Infectious Diseases.
Dr Erik Rollman spent 2.5 years with us as a Post-doctoral Fellow on a prestigious Swedish Research Council Fellowship. He returned to Sweden in 2008 to take up positions in the biotechnology industry.
Our laboratory and offices are located on the 6th floor of Medical Building (Building 181) and we are part of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute/PDI). We have newly renovated office and laboratory space. We collaborate with most aspects of the Doherty Institute, which includes:
- Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne
- Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza
- Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory
- Victorian Infectious Diseases Service
Our modern immunology/ virology laboratory has >100m2 of new laboratory space, 6 class II biosafety cabinets, 4 refrigerated centrifuges, multiple microscopes, 4 -80oC freezers, a 30,000 viral liquid N2 storage facility, 4 CO2 incubators, ABI and Eppendorf real time PCR machines, a Coulter counter and multiple other. The Kent group also has direct access to an adjacent PCR suite. In addition, we share a new PC3 laboratory suite located within the department. The PC3 laboratory is equipped with 3 class II biosafety cabinets, 2 CO2 incubators, an ultracentrifuge, a microscope and a flow cytometer. A new Astrios FACS sorter was installed in the PC3 lab recently.
The department manages a superb mouse facility which we use extensively. We collaborate closely with groups studying multiple other animal models.
Flow Cytometry Facility
The Kent lab has fantastic access to a world-class flow cytometry facility. The facility has dedicated managers and manages high end Fortessa, Aurora, and multiple other sorting and analyzing flow cytometers. We purchased our own Fortessa in 2015 for our dedicated use.
Prof Kent has conjoint appointments as a Visiting Infectious Diseases physician at the Infectious Diseases department of the Alfred Hospital and Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, the 2 major tertiary referral centres for HIV in Melbourne. He also has a joint appointment with the Royal Melbourne Hospital Infectious Diseases service. We have ready access to samples from subjects enrolled in clinical trials, which assists our translational research.
The Kent laboratory has numerous ethernet-linked Mac computers with Intel Core processors. We operate an electronic laboratory storage of records system, and an electronic lab book system for more efficient and secure storage of data. All computers are backed up regularly. We have purchased MacBook Pro laptops for most of our PhD students.
NHMRC Program Grant 2019 - 2023
This Program focuses on immunity to HIV and HIV cures in informative clinical cohorts and model systems. Our studies will guide development of novel treatments, cure strategies and vaccines through preclinical and early phase clinical investigations. This program was renewed for 2019 - 2023 with Professor Kent as CIA. Dr Jane Batten in our team is the project manager of this $16m award.
Our team includes:
Clinician-scientists with a proven record in the identification of unresolved issues in the clinic and the establishment of laboratory strategies to investigate these issues with patient samples and animal models:
Professor Anthony Kelleher, University of NSW
Professor Stephen Kent, University of Melbourne
Professor Sharon Lewin, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection & Immunity
Professor Frank Caruso, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Melbourne
A basic scientist providing expertise in virology underpinning disease pathogenesis:
Professor Sarah Palmer, University of Sydney
Clinical researchers with substantive experience in clinical research and development:
Dr Sean Emery and Dr Sarah Sasson, University of NSW
A mathematical modeller and biostatistician:
Professor Miles Davenport, University of NSW
Prof Miles Davenport, University of NSW
Prof Davenport and colleagues Dr David Khoury and Deborah Cromer have been instrumental in helping refine our understanding of immunity to COVID-19 and HIV. His group brings insightful thinking and sophisticated mathematical modelling to help explain our experimental data and testable hypotheses.
Prof Frank Caruso, University of Melbourne
The Caruso group from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are experts in layer-by-layer nanoparticles. These particles hold great potential as a vaccine delivery system. We were part of an ARC Centre of Excellence grant with Dr Caruso and 17 other CIs around Australia.
Professor Dale Godfrey, University of Melbourne
The Godfrey lab are leaders in the study of NKT cells, MAIT cells and CD1-restricted cells, and are instrumental in our collaborative work in the area.
Visit Stephen's Departmental Research Pages
Note: the following link goes to the main Departmental Website.