I completed my PhD training in Dr Tom Brodnicki’s laboratory at St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. My PhD project bridged genetics and immunology and led to the discovery of a novel genetic switch point with dual roles in bacterial infection and autoimmune diabetes. Since graduating from my PhD in 2013, I have been a postdoctoral researcher in Prof Dick Strugnell’s laboratory at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, which is one of the partners at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
My research interest is to understand the mechanisms of protective cellular immunity against bacterial pathogens, principally Salmonella, and also extending to Klebsiella and Listeria. CD4+ T cells are a critically important yet underexploited arm of the adaptive immune system that, when activated appropriately, can confer significant protection against a plethora of infections. A major hindrance to its utility is that the antigenic targets for CD4+ T cells are often unknown and difficult to identify, making the studies of this functionally diverse cell type particularly challenging during a ‘natural’ infection. With local and international collaborators, I have established an experimental system that successfully elucidated a novel collection of antigenic targets for CD4+ T cells during Salmonella infection in mouse and human models. With a collection of immunogenic epitopes known, ongoing work aims to formulate a protein-based vaccine that confers protective immunity against virulent Salmonella infection. This will not only lead to the discovery of novel antigens for making vaccines against Salmonella, but also to uncover key features that distinguish protective CD4+ T cell epitopes from non-protective ones. It is anticipated that this work will provide vital information on how CD4+ T cell select antigens from a complex bacterial pathogen, and importantly, also bears profound implications for dissecting polyclonal immunity in infection with Salmonella and possibly other bacterial pathogens. This work was awarded a UoM Early Career Development Grant in 2018.
Department: Microbiology and Immunology Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 03 8344 9918
Current Research Focus
T cell immunity against bacteria
Field of Research Description 110704 Cellular Immunology 110801 Medical Bacteriology
- flow cytometry
- mouse/rat models
- T cell stimulation assays
- cytokine analysis
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