Laboratory Heads/Group Leaders
Jennifer Juno @scientist_JJ
Jennifer is a talented Canadian group leader 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 an interest in T-follicular helper cell immunity, COVID-19, 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 and multiple NHMRC project grant and investigator grants as CIA. She is a co-investigator on MRFF and Victorian government COVID-19 grants. She is supervising multiple PhD students and Research Assistants. She has published over 15 articles on COVID-19 since mid 2020 and is regularly invited to discuss immunity to COVID-19 in the media.
Dr Adam Wheatley @WheatleyAtotheK
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 now manages his own group both developing novel nano-medicine projects and developing insight into B cell and antibody based immunity projects to influenza, HIV and COVID-19. In particular, he is pioneering spike and haemagluttin fluorescent probes to study SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza B cell biology and drive improvements in COVID and Influenza vaccines. He is supervising several PhD students, research assistant and post-docs. He has received multiple NHMRC project grants as CIA and was awarded the Frank Fenner Prize for the leading NHMRC EL Investigator grant in 2020. He holds multiple MRFF awards for his COVID-19 research and already has published over 15 articles on COVID-19 up to April 2021.
Post Doctoral Fellows
Wen Shi Lee @WenShiLee
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.
Emily Pilkington @emily_pilk
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.
Hyon-Xhi Tan @Hyonxhi
Hyon-Xhi graduated with a BSc (Hons) from the University of Otago in 2010 where he won several prestigious awards. He hails from Malaysia originally. He completed a highly successful PhD with us in 2016 and is now a highly valued and productive postdoctoral fellow. He works with Adam to understand of COVID-19 influenza-specific B cell responses in blood and tissues. He is a co-investigator on successful NHMRC Ideas grants and various early career awards. He is co-supervising multiple PhD students and research assistants.
Marios Koutsakos @MariosKoutsakos
Marios completed his PhD with the Kedzierska lab in our department in 2019 and joined our group as a post-doctoral fellow in 2021. He has published multiple high impact papers on influenza and COVID-19 immunity and was awarded a highly competitive NHMRC EL Investigator grant in 2020. He will be studying serological immunity to Influenza B with Adam and our group.
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. She submitted her PhD in 2022 and joins us as a post-doctoral scientist.
Lara participated in the International Research Training Group (IRTG 2168), a PhD program between the University of Melbourne and the University of Bonn/Germany and was awarded her joint PhD degree in 2022. She was focusing on evaluating the antiviral activity of RIG-I agonists in different models of respiratory viral infections. Lara recently joined the group to expand upon her interests in viral respiratory diseases and will work on influenza B virus virology and immunology.
Chi is spending a year with us on exchange from the University of Bergen in Norway. She obtained her BSc from Vietnam National University and her PhD with Rebecca Cox in Norway in 2018 and has been working on aspects of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 immunity. She joins us for a year to work with Stephen, Adam, Jen and our team on aspects of immunity to COVID-19 in the elderly and after vaccination.
Mitchell conducted his PhD with Linda Wakim and Pat Reading at the Doherty Institute and joined us to work with Jen Juno and her team on T cell immunity to pandemic pathogens.
Rosie conducted her PhD with the Tarlinton lab at Monash and joined us to work with Adam and Hyon-Xhi on B cell immunity to pandemic viruses.
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.
Robyn Esterbauer @RobynE_RA
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.
Andrew completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science Advanced (Honours) at Monash University in 2021. He joins the lab to work with Adam and Robyn on a series on COVID-19 and Influenza projects.
Julie completed honours in 2021. She originally came from a cancer background and was a part of the Peter Mac Summer Scholarship Program. She is now working with Hyon-Xhi and Jen on several immunisation and immunology projects.
Lauren completed her BSc Honours working with Hyon-Xhi and Jen on how changing vaccine locations affects immunity. She is continuing to work with Jen on COVID immunity projects.
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!
Ruth joined Amy’s group in 2021 to conduct a PhD on antibody-related projects. Stephen is a co-supervisor with Amy Chung the primary supervisor. She completed her undergraduate degree at ANU.
Sam started her PhD in 2019. Stephen is a co-supervisor with Amy Chung the primary supervisor. Sam 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.
Kirsty obtained her BSc at Melbourne University majoring in Microbiology and Immunology and joined us as an honors student in 2020 working with Jen and Kathleen on how to get the most out of gamma-delta T cells for use as immunotherapy for HIV. She obtained excellent marks for her honors projects despite COVID interruptions and started a PhD with Jen in 2021.
Devaki obtained her BSc (hons) from the University of Auckland in 2017 and then worked as a research assistant studying virulence factors of Group A Streptococci. She started a PhD with Adam and Hyon-Xhi in 2021 on nanoparticle vaccines.
Thu hails from Vietnam and recently completed a successful MSc with the Rossjohn group at Monash. She started a PhD with Marios on Influenza B projects
Ebene competed a brilliant BSc Honours degree with Amy in 2019 on aspects of immunity to tuberculosis and then worked on a series of COVID-19 studies as a Research Assistant in 2020. She has enrolled for an MPhil with Amy working on a series of COVID-19 antibody related projects. Stephen is a co-supervisor with Amy Chung the primary supervisor.
Yee-Chen completed her DVM and MSc in Taiwan and has been working in Avian disease laboratories. She joined us to do a PhD with our team on vaccines and immunity to pandemic viral pathogens.
Nicky completed her undergraduate BSc honours at the University of Auckland and has been working on studying Mycobacterial infections in NZ. She joined us in 2023 to do a PhD studying immunity to pandemic vaccines in a range of models.
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.
Janavi completed her Ph.D. in 2019 on malaria immunity from the University of Melbourne. She joined our lab in 2021 as a Senior Project Officer to work with Stephen, Adam and Jen to manage their next generation COVID-19 vaccine project.
Dr Amy Chung @AmyWChung
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 returned 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, COVID, TB, Malaria and autoimmune diseases. She has developed novel multiplex assays to generate this broad picture of antibody immunity. She has received multiple NHMRC fellowships and was promoted to a Laboratory Head in 2018, now managing a large team of scientists. She still collaborates widely with members of the Kent group. Her own website is here
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
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
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 grants in 2014 and 2016, as well 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 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.
Kevin John Selva @Kev_in_Science
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.
A/Prof Steve Rockman
Steve is Director of Global Innovation at Seqirus, a CSL company. He has a long association with UoM dating back to his University days. He is a long term collaborator with our group on aspects of influenza immunity and vaccines with multiple joint publications over the years. He sits on many of the committees of many of our PhD candidates, assists us with several of our large MRFF grants and provides excellent technical advice and directions to our work.
Dr Nghia Truong
Nghia hails from Vietnam and obtained his PhD and has conducted post-doctoral studies at Monash Pharmacy. He is an ARC DECRA fellow and a long term collaborator with our group on nanoparticle projects with multiple joint publications and grants.
Dr Sinth Jegaskanda
Sinth completed honours, PhD and postdoctoral studies with our group. He has also been a postdoc at the NIH, trained as a patent attorney, worked for UoM’s research office and is now working with a biotech company Myrio. He provides great advice on strategy and direction for our group and has been working with another former PhD student Dr Hillary Vanderven on various Influenza projects with commercial potential.