Speakers

 

Meet our Invited Speakers for ASI 2024

We are delighted to present our lineup of esteemed speakers who will be joining us for this prestigious event.

Prepare to be inspired by their ground-breaking research and invaluable contributions to the field of immunology. Here are just a few of our distinguished speakers: These speakers collectively cover a wide range of expertise areas within immunology, including T-cell responses, antibody production, viral pathogenesis, respiratory infections, mRNA-based therapies, innate immune signalling, mucosal immune responses, inflammatory diseases, helminth infections, germinal centre responses, skin immune responses, and cellular immunotherapy. Their research contributions greatly contribute to advancing our understanding of immunological processes and developing innovative approaches to combat diseases.


2024 Foundation Lecturer

 

Prof. Antony Basten 
Tony Basten’s career in immunology spans 55 years from 1969 when he completed his doctorate on eosinophils in Oxford to the present day when he holds the position of Emeritus Fellow at the Garvan Institute in Sydney. On returning to Australia in 1970, he spent two years working with Jaq Miller at WEHI before being appointed to a clinical academic position in the Sydney University Medical School. There he was given the task of setting up an immunology unit responsible for teaching medical students, conducting research and providing a clinical service and training program at the adjacent Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. In 1981 he was awarded one of the first 10 Commonwealth Centres of Excellence which became the core unit of the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology (director: 1989-2005). Throughout his career he has worked at the interface between the laboratory and the clinic in the field of immune regulation and was involved in establishing immunology as a subspecialty of the Colleges of Physicians and Pathologists. Between 1987 and 1989, he was the Commonwealth’s chief advisor on the medical and scientific aspects of HIV/AIDS. He has been the President of ASI and ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy), the Florey Lecturer of the Royal Society (London), the Burnet orator of ASI and the recipient of the inaugural Wellcome Australia (now GSK) Medal. ASCIA has named an oration after him at its annual scientific meeting. No longer in the lab, he devotes his time to mentoring PhD students and assisting staff with grant and paper composition. His own students/trainees number 62 of whom 9 have received awards in the Order of Australia.


2024 Burnet Orator

 

Prof. Carola Vinuesa
 

2024 Doherty Lecturer

 

TBC
 

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Session Guest Speaker

 

TBC
 

International Plenary Speakers

 

A/Prof Montserrat Anguera

Montserrat Anguera, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Epigenetics in the department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine.  She is a co-director for the RNA Institute, a member of the Epigenetics Institute, the Institute for Immunology, the Center for Women’s Health & Reproductive Research, and the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Penn. She also serves on the executive committees for various graduate groups and training grant programs across Penn. Professor Anguera received her B.A. from UCSD in Chemistry and her Ph.D. from Cornell University in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology. Her postgraduate studies were completed at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University, where she developed the interest in X-Chromosome Inactivation. Her laboratory studies epigenetic gene regulation that underlies sex differences in development and disease. Her current research investigates how gene expression from the X-chromosome is regulated in the immune system, and how these mechanisms become altered in diseases exhibiting a sex-bias, such as autoimmunity. Her lab discovered a novel and dynamic mechanism of X-Chromosome Inactivation maintenance specific to female lymphocyte activation, and how perturbations in these pathways contribute to the autoimmune disorder lupus. She is currently a member of the Council for the Midwinter’s Conference on Immunology, and the NIH study section on Hypersensitivity, Autoimmune, and Immune-mediated Diseasesto provide molecular diagnoses for patients and genetic counseling for families. This information will pave the way for the use of IFN-γ for treatment in addition to antibiotics. Additionally, the genetic dissection of MSMD lays the foundations for the genetic dissection of tuberculosis (TB) in otherwise healthy children. Upon completing my Ph.D. and postdoctoral training in host-pathogen interactions, I was invited back to the HGID Laboratory as a Group Leader in 2006. I currently head the mycobacterial division of the laboratory consisting of 2 postdocs and 2 Ph.D. students. In collaboration with my colleagues, I am pursuing the molecular genetic exploration of TB. We first provided the proof-of-principal that TB is a genetic disorder, that can result from single-gene inborn errors of immunity with the identification of rare TB patients with rare conditions, such as autosomal recessive complete IL-12Rβ1, PD-1, ITK or TYK2 deficiencies. We recently discovered the first monogenic but common genetic etiology of TB. We showed that homozygosity for the missense P1104A in TYK2, is highly enriched in our cohort of TB patients, and leads to impaired IL-23-dependent IFN-γ mediated immunity. In addition, we confirmed this result in an independent European population, highlighting that P1104A homozygosity is responsible for 1% of TB in patients in Europe. I will pursue in-depth genetic studies to identify other rare and common genetic etiologies of TB. These defects will be dissected and characterized at the cellular level to provide a possible avenue for TB treatment and prevention.

Dr Bertrand Boisson

My research aims to uncover the human genetic factors involved in invasive pneumococcal and staphylococcal diseases (IPD and ISD), by identifying and defining their molecular and cellular mechanisms. After earning my PhD in 2003 from UPMC in Paris in molecular and cellular host-pathogen interactions, I joined Robert Ménard's laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow. There, I focused on host genetic factors vital to the life cycle of Plasmodium. I discovered by targeted genetic screening the essential role of several plasmodial proteins (LISP1, NPT1, ZIPCO) in the sexual and asexual cycle. In late 2008, I joined Jean-Laurent Casanova's team as a senior postdoctoral researcher to identify human genetic factors underlying IPD. I was promoted to Associate Professor (with tenure) in 2015 and lead the pyogenic division of the lab. I developed innovative, genome-wide approaches to uncover novel genes involved in the predisposition to IPD. Using these techniques, we successfully mapped two genes associated with IPD, highlighting the importance of linear ubiquitination for NF-κB activation and for innate and humoral immune responses. My team and I also clarified the molecular mechanism of dominance in autosomal dominant NFKB1 and STAT3 deficiencies and reported a new genetic defect in ISD due to OTULIN haploinsufficiency, revealing a cell-intrinsic mechanism that sensitizes non-hematopoietic cells to bacterial toxins. My current work seeks to identify disease-causing variants in children with IPD or ISD, with or without specific polysaccharide antibody deficiency (SPAD) or common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), to uncover novel mechanisms underlying invasive bacterial infection. As part of my studies on IPD, I also lead the efforts to understand the genetic predisposition to isolated congenital asplenia (ICA). ICA is a life-threatening disorder characterized by the absence of a spleen at birth without associated developmental abnormalities, that leads to high susceptibility to pneumococcal infection. The immunological implications of our studies are significant, shedding new light on the genetic control of human antibody responses to glycans and bacterial factors that provide protective immunity against pneumococcus and staphylococcus. Clinically, our results will offer patients and families genetic counseling and pave the way for investigating the genetic basis of IPD and ISD in other patients.

Dr Stephanie Boisson-Dupuis

I began working in the field of primary immunodeficiencies as a master’s student at the University Paris René Descartes and INSERM, France, under the guidance of Pr. Alain Fischer in 1998. I pursued this interest by joining the Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases (HGID), directed by Jean-Laurent Casanova and Laurent Abel, where I received my Ph.D. in Human Genetics in 2002. During the course of my research, I discovered novel genetic etiologies conferring Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD), including a heterozygous germline STAT1 mutation associated with susceptibility to mycobacterial, but not viral disease, as well as another STAT1 deficiency leading to a broader clinical phenotype. This work has major medical implications. Elucidation of the molecular genetic basis of MSMD will shed light on the pathogenesis of mycobacterial disease, making it possible to provide molecular diagnoses for patients and genetic counseling for families. This information will pave the way for the use of IFN-γ for treatment in addition to antibiotics. Additionally, the genetic dissection of MSMD lays the foundations for the genetic dissection of tuberculosis (TB) in otherwise healthy children. Upon completing my Ph.D. and postdoctoral training in host-pathogen interactions, I was invited back to the HGID Laboratory as a Group Leader in 2006. I currently head the mycobacterial division of the laboratory consisting of 2 postdocs and 2 Ph.D. students. In collaboration with my colleagues, I am pursuing the molecular genetic exploration of TB. We first provided the proof-of-principal that TB is a genetic disorder, that can result from single-gene inborn errors of immunity with the identification of rare TB patients with rare conditions, such as autosomal recessive complete IL-12Rβ1, PD-1, ITK or TYK2 deficiencies. We recently discovered the first monogenic but common genetic etiology of TB. We showed that homozygosity for the missense P1104A in TYK2, is highly enriched in our cohort of TB patients, and leads to impaired IL-23-dependent IFN-γ mediated immunity. In addition, we confirmed this result in an independent European population, highlighting that P1104A homozygosity is responsible for 1% of TB in patients in Europe. I will pursue in-depth genetic studies to identify other rare and common genetic etiologies of TB. These defects will be dissected and characterized at the cellular level to provide a possible avenue for TB treatment and prevention.

Prof. Richard Flavell

Dr. Flavell is Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his B.Sc. (Honors) in 1967 and Ph.D. in 1970 in biochemistry from the University of Hull, England, and performed postdoctoral work in Amsterdam (1970-72) with Piet Borst and in Zurich (1972-73) with Charles Weissmann. Before accepting his current position in 1988, Dr. Flavell was first Instructor/Assistant Professor (equivalent) at the University of Amsterdam (1974-79); then Head of the Laboratory of Gene Structure and Expression at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London (1979-82); and subsequently President and Chief Scientific Officer of Biogen Research Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1982-88). Dr. Flavell is a fellow of the Royal Society, a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the National Academy of Medicine. He is the founding Chair of the Yale University School of Medicine Department of Immunobiology, generally considered one of the best if not the best Immunology Departments in the world.

Dr Yonatan Ganor

Dr. Ganor received his PhD degree in neuroimmunology from the Weizmann institute / Israel in 2006, and completed his postdoctoral training on mucosal HIV-1 transmission and reservoirs at the Cochin Institute / Paris, France in 2013. He pioneered the use of human tissues derived from the male genitals and developed unique experimental models, namely tissue explants and reconstructions, permitting him to make significant contributions to the HIV-1 field. First, he described the ‘chain-of-events’ mediating HIV-1 entry in the inner foreskin and penile urethra, and identified the immune cells involved, i.e. Langerhans cells (LCs) and T-cells in the inner foreskin vs. macrophages in the urethra. Second, using rare genital tissues from HIV-1-infected patients under antiretroviral therapy, his studies provided the first evidence that human tissue macrophages constitute HIV-1 reservoirs, hence challenging the dogma that such reservoirs establish only in T-cells. He then created an original research theme in neuroimmunovirology, permitting his recruitment as Research Associate by the French CNRS in 2013. He is group leader since 2017, Senior Research Director since 2022, and future laboratory co-director at the Cochin Institute from 2025. His current scientific interests are the neuroimmune interactions that control transmission of human mucosal viruses, especially focusing on the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). His studies were the first to describe an unexpected anti-viral role of CGRP, and showed that CGRP, as well as CGRPinducing natural ligands (i.e. capsaicin from chili peppers and cannabidiol from Marijuana), inhibit LCs infection with HIV-1. His subsequent studies revealed that the anti-viral function of CGRP extends to other viruses, as CGRP inhibits infection of LCs with HSV-2, and bronchial epithelial cells with SARS-CoV-2. He is also studying the sexual transmission of another emerging mucosal virus, namely mpox.

Dr Kenji Kabashima 

Dr. Kabashima graduated from Kyoto University in 1996 and further honed his medical and dermatology skills through training at the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Kyoto University Hospital, and the University of Washington Medical Center. He initiated his research on bioactive lipid mediators at Kyoto University and received his PhD there. Subsequently, he pursued his studies at UCSF and the University of Occupational and Environmental Health. Currently, Dr. Kabashima holds several prominent positions, including Professor and Chair of the Department of Dermatology at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Senior Principal Investigator at A*STAR (Singapore), and Visiting Consultant at the National Skin Centre (Singapore). He also serves as the President of the Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology. His research focuses on understanding the underlying mechanisms of inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and psoriasis, as well as exploring 3D visualization of the skin using two-photon microscopy and drug development.

Prof. Claudia Kemper  

Dr. Kemper is a Senior Investigator and Section Chief at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Kemper received her Ph.D. in Immunology in 1998 from the University of Hamburg, the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine, in Germany where she worked on the evolutionary aspect of complement regulatory proteins under the supervision of Prof. Irma Gigli. She joined in 1999 John Atkinson’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in Saint Louis where she discovered that the complement regulator CD46 is a key checkpoint in human Th1 induction and contraction. Dr. Kemper left Washington University in 2008 as Assistant Professor to move her laboratory to King’s College London, where she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012 and Full Professor in 2015. During her time at King’s College London, Dr. Kemper’s group discovered that complement activation is not confined, as always thought, to the extracellular space but that it occurs within a broad range of cells. Importantly, this new location of activation allowed her group to discover that intracellular and cell-autonomous complement (coined the complosome) serves unexpected non-canonical roles in cell biology, including the regulation of key metabolic pathways such as glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, fatty acid synthesis and cholesterol flux as well as mitochondrial dynamics. Her group further showed that perturbations in complosome functions are associated with a range of human disease conditions, including primary immune deficiency, arthritic diseases (RA, SLE, and scleroderma) and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Kemper’s research at the NHLBI now focusses on the non-canonical roles of complement in cell physiology in health and disease. Dr. Kemper is the recipient of a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award, the Merit Award for Excellence in Science from the International Complement Society and two Orloff Awards in Science from the NHLBI/NIH, and elected member of the Henry Kunkel Society. Dr. Kemper also serves on the Scientific Board of Apellis, Inc., is the NHLBI representative of the Women Scientists Advisors (WSA), the Head of Admission of the NIH-OXCAM Scholars Program, and the sitting Past President of the International Complement Society.

Prof. Mala Maini 

Mala Maini is a Professor of Viral Immunology in the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation, Division of Infection and Immunity at UCL, London and a Consultant Physician in the viral hepatitis clinic. Her lab studies adaptive immunity to hepatitis B, liver cancer and SARS-CoV-2 to inform the development of immunotherapies and vaccines for these major causes of morbidity and mortality. Through access to well-characterised patient cohorts, human tissue samples and models, their studies provide insights into beneficial and dysfunctional T and B cell responses. The lab is particularly interested in dissecting and harnessing tissue-resident immunity for frontline sentinel surveillance of viruses and cancer.  Mala enjoys mentoring and supporting her lab members to obtain fellowships and develop their careers. Work in the Maini lab is funded by Wellcome (including Mala’s Investigator Award), UKRI, Cancer Research UK, ERC Horizon 2020 and the Royal Free Charity.

Prof. Luke O'Neill 
Luke O’Neill is Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He is a world expert on innate immunity and inflammation. His main research interests include Toll-like receptors, Inflammasomes and Immunometabolism. He is listed by Thompson Reuters/ Clarivates in the top 1% of immunologists in the world, based on citations per paper. Professor O'Neill is co-founder of Sitryx, which aims to develop new medicines for inflammatory diseases. Another company he co-founded, Inflazome was recently acquired by Roche. He was awarded the Royal Dublin Society / Irish Times Boyle Medal for scientific excellence, the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences, The Society for Leukocyte Biology (SLB) Dolph O. Adams award, the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal, the Milstein Award of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society and the Landsteiner Award from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Prof. Anne Puel 
Dr Puel is an international leader in the field of human genetics of infectious diseases, inborn errors of immunity, clinical immunology, and anti-cytokine autoantibodies (auto-Abs) underlying infectious diseases. Over the last 10 years, she has made fundamental and seminal contributions to deciphering the pathogenesis of superficial and invasive fungal infections ([9], JAMA Dermatol 2015, J Infect Dis 2015, J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015, J Clin Immunol 2015, 2016 & 2018, Cell 2021). She has pioneered the field of autoimmune and genetic susceptibility to Candida infections, with the discovery of low Th17 cell levels in autosomal dominant hyper-IgE syndrome (AD-HIES) or auto-Abs against IL-17 cytokines in autosomal recessive (AR) autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS-1) (J Exp Med 2008, 2010). Since 2011, with her team she has discovered the first 11 genetic causes of isolated or syndromic chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC) ([2; 3; 5; 8; 10], J Exp Med 2011, Immunity 2013, Science 2015, J Exp Med 2015, 2016, Blood 2016, Sci Immunol 2018, J Exp Med 2020, J Clin Invest 2021). These studies have provided irrefutable proof of the non-redundant role of IL-17-dependent immunity in controlling mucocutaneous Candida infections in humans. She has shown that heterozygous gain-of-function variants of STAT1 represent the most frequent genetic cause of CMC, and are very often associated with other infectious and autoimmune clinical features [7]. She has also reported the first deficiency of ZNF341, encoded by a previously uncharacterized gene, in AR-HIES, and showed that it was essential for STAT3 transcription–dependent auto-induction and sustained activity (Sci Immunol 2018). She also reported a paradigm-shifting discovery with the rescue of an inborn error of innate immunity by human adaptive immunity [6]. She has been involved in COVID-19 research participating to the identification of inborn errors of type I IFN immunity (Science 2020a, Sci Immunol 2021a), and of auto-Abs against type I IFNs (Science 2020b, Sci Immunol 2021, [1; 4]) in patients with critical COVID-19. She has also contributed to show that the pre-existing anti-IFN-I auto-Abs in APS-1 patients were associated with a high risk of severe COVID-19 pneumonia (J Exp Med 2021a) or that anti-IFN-I auto-Abs can underlie adverse reactions to yellow fever live attenuated vaccine (J Exp Med 2021b). More recently, she has discovered a novel genetic cause of anti-IFN-I autoantibody development with disorders of the non-canonical NF-𝛋B signaling pathway (Nature 2023). She authored > 250 publications in top-ranking peer-reviewed journals, and has been invited to write reviews in leading journals (e.g. J Exp Med). She has been elected to the Board of ESID to lead the "Genetics Working Party", as well as the President for the 21st biennial meeting of ESID in Marseille 2024. She has obtained several national (ANR) and international (ERA-NET, Jeffrey Modell Foundation, ANR-FNRS, NIH) grants. She has given over 150 invited oral presentations at international conferences. She is collaborating with international leaders in human immunology. She has trained 29 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, including clinician-scientists (MD, PhD) who are now team leaders.
 
Prof. Julie Zikherman 

Dr. Zikherman received her medical degree at Cornell University Medical College in New York City and trained in internal medicine and rheumatology in Boston at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She undertook postdoctoral training in immunology with Dr. Arthur Weiss at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) where she subsequently started her independent lab. Her group at UCSF is focused on understanding  the role of antigen receptor signaling in lymphocyte development, tolerance, and regulation of humoral immune responses. Recent work has focused on the role for the NR4A family of nuclear receptors in T and B cell tolerance, as well as novel mechanisms by which B cells respond to viral-like particles.


National Invited Speakers

Dr Anneliese Ashhurst 

 
Prof. Ian Cockburn 
Ian Cockburn is Head of the Division of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Australian National University (ANU). The laboratory focuses on understanding how immune responses develop to complex pathogens with a focus on malaria. To achieve this, the team uses reductionist animal models, to test hypotheses developed using data from clinical cohorts. Key achievements have been the biophysical analysis of antibody binding to the circumsporozoite protein, the identification of the factors that regulate memory responses to malaria vaccines, and an understanding of selection processes in the germinal center. Previously Ian received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh in which he discovered a new malaria resistance gene among individuals in Papua New Guinea. In 2004 he moved to Johns Hopkins University where his post-doctoral work focused on CD8+ T cells and their ability to kill malaria parasites in the liver. HIs contributions include the first intravital imaging of pathogen killing in vivo, which paved the way for the identification of tissue resident T cells in the liver as major mediators of protection against malaria.

 
Dr Laura Cook

Dr Laura Cook is an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Investigator and Research Officer in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute. She is an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Department of Critical Care, Royal Melbourne Hospital and an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of British Columbia, Canada. Laura completed her PhD in 2014 at the Kirby Institute, UNSW and undertook post-doctoral training at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Laura is the recipient of multiple grants and awards from publicly-funded and non-governmental organisations. Her research is focused on the role of human effector and regulatory (Treg) CD4+ T cells in immunity to infection, and autoimmunity. She described the magnitude of the memory Treg cell response, their role in disease progression and treatment outcomes, and new functions beyond immune suppression. Laura has designed immune monitoring protocols for clinical trials and recently led the Functional Immunophenotyping in Critical Illness (FICI) study at the Royal Melbourne Hospital that has revealed immune impairment mechanisms in cells of trauma and COVID-19 ICU patients. Laura’s team at the Doherty Institute is pursuing studies of immune regulation in both infection and inflammation. She has developed organoid and immune cell co-culture experimental systems to study human immunity in a tissue environment. She continues to work closely with clinical colleagues and is leading the immune mechanistic studies for a multi-centre phase 1b clinical trial of mega-dose sodium ascorbate treatment of sepsis funded by an Early-Mid Career MRFF grant.

 
Prof. Kim Good-Jacobson

Professor Kim Good-Jacobson Heads the B cells, Antibody, Memory laboratory and is Co-Head of the Immunity Program within the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute. Her research studies the ability of the immune system to clear pathogens and form immunity through production of B cell memory and antibody, exemplified by her recent work published in Nature Immunology and Immunity. Her laboratory uses state-of-the-art epigenomic & single-cell capabilities, pre-clinical models and new tools to track rare memory cells to understand how immunity is formed, and to identify how this process goes awry in chronic viral disease or in autoimmunity. Prof Good-Jacobson completed her PhD at the Centenary and Garvan Institutes in 2007. She was awarded an Arthritis Australia Fellowship and a CJ Martin Fellowship from the NHMRC to undertake postdoctoral training at Yale University followed by WEHI. She established her lab at Monash and has since made key insights into the unique epigenetic regulators that drive effective antibody production and formation of immunity. Prof Good-Jacobson’s contribution to research has been recognised by a Bellberry-Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship, a GSK Fast Track Challenge partnership and a Victorian Young Tall Poppy Science Award.

A/Prof Michael Gantier 

A/Prof Michael Gantier leads the Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity laboratory in the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Disease at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research. He is an expert in nucleic acids biology with a strong focus on their therapeutic implications in the modulation of immunity.  His team has pioneered discoveries of the immunosuppressive effects of synthetic oligonucleotides. In ground-breaking studies, they recently discovered that cleavage products of these oligonucleotides into very short fragments could block TLR7/8 sensing, harnessing a natural checkpoint mechanism naturally preventing inflammation. These findings have widespread implications for RNA therapeutics such as mRNA vaccines, and our broad understanding of inflammation in autoimmunity.

Dr Emma Grant

Dr Emma Grant is an ARC DECRA Fellow based at La Trobe University. Following her PhD at the University of Melbourne, she was awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship. She undertook two-years of her Fellowship at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, then returned to Australia and finished her fellowship at Monash University. She was then awarded an ARC DECRA Fellowship and relocated to La Trobe University where she leads a research team in the laboratory of Prof Stephanie Gras. Her research interests centre around understanding anti-viral immunology, understanding key correlates of immune protection against different viral infections including influenza, HIV and SARS-CoV-2.
 

Prof. Michaela Lucas  

Clinical Professor Michaela Lucas is an Immunologist/Immunopathologist and Clinician-Scientist with conjoint appointments at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, the Perth Children’s Hospital, and The University of Western Australia, where she leads a multi-disciplinary team of clinical and basic science researchers, and microsurgeons, at the Immunology and Transplantation Lab. After completing medical training in Germany, she received a Marie Curie Research Fellowship and undertook a four-year postdoctoral position at the University of Oxford where she studied liver T-cell immunology. Her research interests and expertise span T cell immunology including the pathogenesis of T cell mediated drug allergies, anti-viral T cell responses and the role of inflammation in the development of adaptive immunity in organ transplantation. More recently her work has also focussed on the impact of environmental plastics on inflammatory responses.

Prof. Laura Mackay 

Laura Mackay is Professor and Immunology Theme lead at The Peter Doherty Institute. She is a HHMI International Research Scholar, Dame Kate Campbell Fellow, Sylvia & Charles Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellow and NHMRC Leadership Investigator. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and recipient of Awards including The Prime Minister’s Prize for The Frank Fenner Life Scientist of the Year, Jian Zhou Medal, Gottschalk Medal, AAMRI Rising Star and the Immediate Past President of The Federation of Immunological Societies of Asia-Oceania (FIMSA). Dr Mackay is at the forefront of research on immunological memory and her work was instrumental in the discovery that tissue-resident memory T cells are critical for infection and cancer control. The focus of her Laboratory is on the T cell-intrinsic and microenvironmental cues that govern tissue immunity, with a view to harness tissue resident lymphocytes for new immunotherapeutic strategies against disease.

Dr Ian Parish 

Dr Ian Parish is a fundamental immunologist with expertise in the negative regulation of T cell function. He completed his PhD at the WEHI, during which he studied the cellular and molecular regulation of peripheral T cell tolerance. He then accepted a postdoctoral position at the Yale School of Medicine, where he focused on T cell differentiation during infection, and developed an interest in why T cell responses become blunted during chronic viral infection. After returning to Australia, he established an independent research program at the ANU aimed at deciphering the molecular pathways that limit T cell function. He joined the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in 2018 with the aim of applying his expertise to cancer immunotherapy, and in 2022 he was appointed as a Group Leader in the Cancer Immunology Program. His research group studies the fundamental biology of T cell negative regulation in a range of contexts, with the goal of applying this knowledge to guide innovative immunotherapy approaches for the treatment of cancer. Since arriving at Peter Mac, he has secured over $6 million in research funding as a lead investigator through NHMRC, HFSP, The Volkswagen Foundation, the Victorian Cancer Agency, CCV, mRNA Victoria, ANZSA and industry support. His research has collectively attracted over 4500 citations from publications featured in high impact journals such as Immunity, JCI, Nature Communications, PNAS, Nature Medicine, Nature, Blood, JEM, Cell Reports and Cancer Discovery.

Prof. Tri Phan 

Tri graduated from the University of Sydney Medical School and completed a double fellowship in clinical immunology and immunopathology training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. He developed the SWHEL model to study in vivo B cell responses in tolerance and immunity under the supervision of Prof. Robert Brink and Tony Basten at the Centenary Institute. His interest in B cell decision making led to post-doctoral studies with Professor Jason Cyster at the University of California, San Francisco where he learnt intravtital two-photon microscopy. He heads the Intravital Microscopy and Gene Expression (IMAGE) lab at the Garvan Institute where he also co-directs the Precision Immunology Program and the ACRF INCITe Centre for Intravital Microscopy. His lab is interested primarily in B cell-macrophage cross-talk in immunity, autoimmunity and cancer.

Dr Chansavath Phetsouphanh 

Dr Chan Phetsouphanh completed his PhD in 2014 at UNSW. He then embarked on a postdoctoral position at the Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research at the University of Oxford (2015-2018), working on the role of MAIT cells and Cytotoxic CD4 T cells during HIV infection.  He continued his postdoctoral training in Oxford at The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (2018-2020). Since rejoining UNSW, he works as a Senior Lecturer within the Immuno-Virology and Pathogenesis Program (IVPP) at the Kirby Institute. His projects involve investigating T-cell responses following viral infections, evaluating the drivers of Long COVID, and harnessing immunopeptidomics for HIV eradication. He has keen interests in infectious diseases, immunotherapy, T-cell biology, and immunopeptidomics.

Prof. Sarah Robertson 
Sarah Robertson is a biomedical research scientist and Professor of Reproductive Immunology and NHMRC Investigator Fellow at the Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide. She was Director of the Robinson Research Institute at The University of Adelaide from 2013-2021. Her research focusses on the immunobiological determinants of successful conception and embryo implantation, in order to understand immune tolerance of pregnancy and yield new approaches to treatment and prevention of infertility and pregnancy disorders. Her work shows that the immune response at conception channels environmental and genetic signals from both female and male parents to contribute to fertility and reproductive success, and to shape offspring phenotype and child health. She is an elected Fellow of The Australian Academy of Science, a Fellow of the Australian Academy for Health and Medical Sciences, a Distinguished Fellow of the Society for reproductive Investigation (US), and a Fellow of the Society for the Reproductive Biology (Australia).
 
Prof. Franca Ronchese 
Franca trained at the University of Padova, Italy, and then as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Ron Germain at NIH, USA. Franca then joined the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland, where she became interested in antigen presentation by dendritic cells in vivo. Since 1994 Franca has been leading the Immune Cell Biology group at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington, NZ. Her current work examines dendritic cell diversity during the initiation of CD4+ helper T cell responses with a particular focus on allergic immunity.

 
Prof. Cameron Turtle

Prof. Turtle trained as a hemato-oncologist, obtaining Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in 2000. He then completed a PhD in dendritic cell immunotherapy at the University of Queensland and a postdoctoral research fellowship in T cell immunotherapy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (FHCC) in Seattle, WA. He spent 17 years in Seattle and was Professor and Anderson Family Endowed Chair for Immunotherapy at FHCC and Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington. In 2022 he was appointed Professor and CLEARbridge Chair in Cancer Immunotherapy in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is a clinical academic at Royal North Shore Hospital. Prof. Turtle has led clinical and laboratory research teams conducting multiple investigator-initiated phase 1/2 clinical trials of genetically modified T cell immunotherapies for patients with hematologic malignancies. He has served as Chair of the American Society of Hematology Scientific Committee on Transplantation Biology and Cellular Therapies and is Co-Chair of the Cellular Immunotherapy for Cancer Working Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplantation Research (CIBMTR). His research laboratory focuses on understanding the characteristics of distinct human T cell subsets, factors governing the immune response to cancer, and the development of novel tumor immunotherapies.

Prof. Di Yu

Professor Di Yu holds the position of Chair in Paediatric Immunotherapy and serves as the inaugural Director of the Ian Frazer Centre of Children's Immunotherapy Research at the University of Queensland. Additionally, in his role as a Professor of Immunology, he leads the Systems and Translational T-cell Immunology Laboratory (STTIL) at the University of Queensland Frazer Institute. He received his PhD from the Australian National University, followed by postdoctoral training at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Before joining the University of Queensland, he was a faculty member at Monash University and the Australian National University. His research is dedicated to exploring T cell subsets and developing new therapies to modulate their functions in clinical settings, aiming to treat autoimmune diseases and cancer. He is deeply passionate about assessing individuals' immune status and co-founded the ASI "systems immunology" special interest group.

 

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