Staff

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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Post Doctoral Fellow

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

Research Assistants

  • Photo of Vinca Alcantara

    Vinca Alcantara

    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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • Milla McClean

    Milla is a BSc graduate from the University of Melbourne who returns to Amy's group as a research assistant in 2019. She worked with us as an undergraduate student and RA in 2016 (publication) before embarking on Medical School at Deakin University in 2017. She's taking a year off to pursue her passion for biomedical science with us.

Students

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

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