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.

  • Jennifer Juno

    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

    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

  • Photo of Hannah Kelly

    Hannah Kelly

    Hannah is a “Kiwi” who graduated from Victoria University of Wellington. She joined our group after working as a research assistant at Absynth Biologics Ltd, Sheffield in the UK. She started a PhD with us in 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. She submitted her PhD in early 2021 and is working with us on nanoparticle interactions in the lymph node

  • 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 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

    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.

  • Jacob Coffey

    Jake completed his PhD at UQ on microneedle delivery of vaccines. He is a postdoctoral fellow who was awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin travelling fellowship to work in the Langer lab at MIT. He will be joining our group in 2021. He has several projects on the innovative delivery of vaccines and nano-medicines, including to mucosal surfaces.

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 Penny Konstandopoulos

    Penny Konstandopoulos

    Penny received her BSc degree in 2018, majoring in Genetics and Immunology, and then undertook Honours studies in Immunology in Professor David Tarlinton’s Immune Memory lab in Monash University’s Department of Immunology and Pathology in 2019. She has worked as an RA in an epigenetics lab at Monash and at a cardiovascular research lab at the Baker Institute. She is working with Hyon-Xhi and Jen on a number immunisation, immunology and clinical trial projects.

  • 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 Amy manage her lab. 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.

Students

  • 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 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.

  • Photo of Devaki Pilapitiya

    Devaki Pilapitiya

    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.

  • 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.

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    Thi Do

    Thi hails from Vietnam and recently completed a successful MSc with the Rossjohn group at Monash. She is starting a PhD with Marios on Influenza B projects

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.