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Research Staff

Group Leaders

  • 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 2 PhD students and 2 Research Assistants. She has received University of Melbourne Early Career grants and a D’Esterre-Taylor Charitable Trust grant to continue her work. She received an NHMRC fellowship and was promoted to a Laboratory Head in 2018.

  • Jennifer Juno

    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 has 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. She is supervising a PhD student and Research Assistant.

  • 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 3 PhD students. He has received 2 NHMRC project grants as CIA and an Early Career Research Grant from the University of Melbourne and he was a co-investigator on our 2016 ACH2 Award.

Post Doctoral Fellows

  • Photo of Martin Killian

    Martin Killian

    Martin is a French physician with an interest in auto-immunity. He has joined Amy’s group to characterise Fc-mediated functions of auto-antibodies in the plasma of subjects with auto-immune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome.

  • 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 focused 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. He was awarded his PhD in 2019 and joined us as a postdoctoral fellow.

  • Photo of Emily Pilkington

    Emily Pilkington

    Emily hails from New Zealand and completed her PhD with Tom Davis and colleagues at Monash pharmacy. She brings both chemical engineering and biology skills and is working on research funded through an ARC discovery project with Stephen together with Tom Davis and Nghia Truong at Monash Pharmacy.

  • Photo of Kevin John Selva

    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 studied how factors within seminal plasma cause immune-suppression, inhibiting the ability of NK cells to mediate ADCC and enhance HIV transmission. He passed his PhD with us in 2019 and is now working with Amy on aspects of functional antibody immunity to HIV.

  • Hyon-Xhi Tan

    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.

  • Photo of Mingyang Wang

    Dr Mingyang Wang

    Dr Mingyang Wang is a virologist and senior lecturer at the China Agricultural University in Beijing and is a visiting postdoctoral fellow in the Kent lab on a Fellowship from China. He studied at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and did his PhD at the Free University in Berlin. He has worked on aspects of Influenza virology and will be involved in Influenza immunology projects with Adam Wheatley and his team.

Research Assistants

  • Photo of Thakshila Amarasena

    Thakshila Amarasena

    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.

  • photo of Robyn Easterbauer

    Robyn Esterbauer

    Robyn completed a BSc (Honors) in our department in 2016 topping her honors class. She has previously worked in several IT areas and brings a wide range of skills to our lab. She is working with Adam on several influenza immunity projects and is a very valued team member.

  • Photo of Ebene Haycroft

    Ebene Haycroft

    Ebene is doing her BSc Honours with Amy in 2019 on aspects of immunity to tuberculosis. She excelled as a BSc undergraduate student and we are confident she will be a productive and valued member of our group.

  • Photo of Ester Lopez

    Ester Lopez

    Ester is a highly skilled and experienced scientist who is working closely with Dr Amy Chung to help her deliver on a wide range of antibody related projects. She obtained a BSc (Honors) though our department and was most recently working with Zoetis/Pfizer, a large animal vaccines company.

  • Sriveni Pantham

    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.

  • Photo of Kathleen Wragg

    Kathleen Wragg

    Kathleen is a clever and gifted scientist helping Dr Jen Juno and others in the lab work on a range of HIV and Influenza immunology projects. She obtained her BSc (Honors) at Latrobe University where she was Dux of her class in 2015.


  • Photo of Isaac Barber-Axthelm

    Isaac Barber-Axthelm

    Isaac trained as a vet in Oregon USA and recently completed a Masters at the University of Washington on aspects of SIV pathogenesis and treatment. He was awarded a UoM scholarship and will be starting a PhD in September 2019 working with Jen on aspects of immunity to HIV and influenza in animal models. He chose to do his PhD with us in Melbourne because of our sterling reputation as superb supervisors.... plus his wife Val is an avid AFL player!

  • photo of Timon Damelang

    Timon Damelang

    Timon joined our group as a PhD student in 2017. He is working with Amy Chung and collaborator Stephen Rogerson on projects related to antibody-based immunity against malaria, especially pregnancy-associated malaria. Timon obtained an MSc from the University of Lubeck and a BSc from the Martin Luther University, both in Germany.

  • Photo of Samantha Davis

    Samantha Davis

    Sam started her PhD with Amy in 2019. She completed her Bachelor's and Honour's degrees in Animal Science through La Trobe University, working on aspects of immunity to liver disease. We are excited to have her join the group.

  • Photo of Kirsty Field

    Kirsty Field

    Kirsty obtained her BSc at Melbourne University majoring in Microbiology and Immunology. She joins us as an honors student in 2020 and will be working with Jen and Kathleen on how to get the most out of gamma-delta T cells for use as immunotherapy for HIV.

  • Photo of Marloes Grobben

    Marloes Grobben

    Marloes is doing a PhD with Dr Marit van Gils at Amsterdam Medical Centre. She is studying HIV antibody functions in samples from the famous Amsterdam cohort of subjects who acquired HIV during the 1980s. She will be working with Amy’s group from October 2019 for 6 months studying Fc functions of these samples.

  • Wenbo Jiang

    Wenbo started a PhD with us in 2018 studying immunity to influenza with Dr Jen Juno. He obtained his BS in Biotechnology from Jilin University and his MS in Bioengineering from Institute Pasteur Shanghai. He obtained a prestigious international PhD scholarship from the University of Melbourne and has already published in the field of influenza immunity. We are excited to have him join our lab.

  • Photo of Hannah Kelly

    Hannah Kelly

    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 started a PhD with us in early 2017 and is working on projects related to understanding how nanoparticles interact with immune cells and can function as vaccines. This is part of our ARC Centre of Excellence grant on Nanomedicine, where she is playing an active role of several committees.

  • Photo of Yi Liu

    Yi Liu

    Yi completed his BSc at Wuhan University in China and an MSc at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He is working with ADam and Hyon-Xhi on influenza B virus, recently publishing an important article in Nature Communications.

  • Photo of Mai Vu

    Mai Vu

    Mai is a PhD student primarily supervised by Drs Tom Davis and Nghia Truong at Monash Pharmacy in Parkville and is part of the ARC centre of Excellence in nanomedicine. Stephen is co-supervising her and she is studying nanoparticle interactions with blood cells in microfluidics flow-based model. She did her B. Pharm degree in Hanoi, Vietnam and did a MSc at Monash pharmacy. She is also looking to develop influenza-based nanoparticle vaccines and spends time in our lab group on her research projects.

  • photo of Julius Wong

    Julius Wong

    Julius started a PhD with us early 2017 on influenza immunity projects together with Adam in the lab. He is developing several key reagents to be able to better understand how B cell immunity can protect against Influenza. He completed both a Diploma in Molecular Biotechnology at Nanyang Polytechnic and a BSc Honors at NUS in Singapore before obtaining a prestigious University of Melbourne scholarship to undertake a PhD with Adam's group. He was also warded a CSIRO top up scholarship.

  • photo of Matthew Worley

    Matthew Worley

    Matthew started a PhD with our group in 2015 after completing a BSc honors at ANU. He is working with Dr Amy Chung studying how neutrophils can mediate antibody-based effector functions against HIV. This is likely to be important to enhance mucosal immunity against HIV.

Administrative Assistant

  • Jane Batten

    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.

Honorary Staff

  • Photo of Yi Ju

    Dr David (Yi) Ju

    David is a postdoctoral fellow in Frank Caruso’s group at the Dept of Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. He is interested in nanoparticle-immune cell interactions within our ARC Centre of Excellence in nanomedicine. He did his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Tianjin China and a MSc and PhD at the University of Melbourne. He is working with us on several collaborative projects around immune-cell targeting and cancer-cell targeting nanoparticles. Visit his website here.

  • Photo of David O'Connor

    Professor David O'Connor

    Dave is a full professor at the University of Wisconsin and an expert in viral and immunology genetics. He spent 11 months with the Kent lab as a visiting Miegunyah professor at UoM on sabattical. He continues to collaborate with our group and retains an honorary position with us. Visit his website here.

  • Photo of Shelby O'Connor

    Associate Professor Shelby O'Connor

    Shelby is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin and an expert in viral immunology and viral dynamics. She spent 11 months with the Kent lab at UoM on sabattical. She continues to collaborate with the Kent/Juno/Chung groups and we hold a joint NIH grant together. Visit her website here.

  • Dr Matt Parsons

    Dr Matt Parsons completed his PhD at McGill in Canada in 2012 and joined us in November 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 studied 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 grantsin 2014 and 2016, as we as an NHMRC Project Grant in 2015 to continue his work. He has been awarded Canadian Institute of Health Research and Doherty Fellowships. He supervised PhD students Wen Shi Lee and Kevin John Selva and Research Assistant Anne Kristensen. He was recruited to Emory University in the USA and remains as an honorary staff member.

  • Hillary Vanderven

    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. She finished her PhD and was recruited to James Cook University in 2018.