Dr Louise Rowntree
Research Fellow, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
What does your research focus on and why is it important?
I work on understanding immune responses to viral infections in high-risk populations of Indigenous Australians, pregnant women, children, and cancer patients. These groups are vulnerable to severe infections with influenza and SARS-CoV-2 and we want to understand why and how best to protect them.
What was your first job in Biomedical Sciences?
My first exposure to a research lab was year 10 work experience where I remember making and testing my own standard curve and getting to see mouse tissue samples. During my undergraduate degree I then did a summer research project in a lab focused on understanding and treating blood clots. I became interested in Immunology while studying my undergraduate degree at Monash University and so completed my honours and PhD in a lab focused on immune responses in lung transplantation. My initial project focused on lung transplantation and viruses, which has led me to working in viral immunology for a number of years.
What did you learn from your biggest mistake?
Perseverance… Halfway through my PhD, my project fell apart and I remember really wanting to give up. Working with my supervisors we were able to regroup and re-direct my project and I was still able to do some really interesting work. Had I given up when it felt like everything had gone wrong, I would not be doing the work I am today.