Current ASI Council
Professor Gabrielle Belz trained in veterinary medicine and surgery at the University of Queensland and has made major contributions to the field of immunology for which she received a Doctor of Veterinary Science. Her prime research interests are in the areas of infectious disease, particularly in lung and gut diseases, where she works to unravel how protective innate and adaptive immune cells are wired to generate long-live protective memory. She has published over 240 peer-reviewed original papers in leading scientific journals and has received a number of awards including a NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship, Wellcome Trust Overseas Fellowship, HHMI International Fellowship, ARC Future fellowship, and the Gottschalk Medal (Australian Academy of Science). She is the Chair of Immunology, University of Queensland Diamantina Institute and continues to be excited by the unexpected and new discoveries in immunology and how immune cells dynamically link physiological regulatory circuits in immune protection.
Professor Jose Villadangos is an NHMRC L3 Investigator Fellow of the University of Melbourne. He has a dual appointment with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Peter Doherty Institute and the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the Bio21 Institute. His main research interests are the cells and molecules involved in Antigen Presentation and T cell Recognition, events that underpin every activity of the adaptive immune system. Jose obtained his PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 1994. Subsequently he trained at MIT (USA), Harvard Medical School (USA), and WEHI (Australia). He started his own laboratory in 2001 and moved to The University of Melbourne in 2010. Jose has received funding from the NHMRC, ARC, NIH, HFSP, LLS, CRI and the Anti-Cancer Council, among others. Jose is the past Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Immunology and Editor-in-Chief of Current Research in Immunology. He was President of the International Congress of Immunology (IUIS) held in 2016 in Melbourne. Jose is an Honorary Life Member and recipient of the Derek Rowley Medal of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology. The research interests of the Villadangos laboratory include: (i) Mechanisms of antigen presentation by classical and non-classical MHC molecules; (ii) Development and function of Dendritic Cells and other antigen presenting cells; (iii) Regulation of membrane proteostasis by ubiquitination; (iv) Anti-viral immunity; (v)Immunosuppression post-sepsis or trauma; (vi) Immunometabolism and O-GlcNAcylation; (vi) COVID-19; and (vii) how RNA vaccines work.
Dr Connie Jackaman is an Early-Mid Career Research Fellow based at Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI), Curtin University, Western Australia. She completed her PhD in tumour immunology, followed by postdoctoral training in muscle pathology and related diseases. She moved to CHIRI, Curtin University in 2012 and leads a team investigating myeloid cell function in the elderly. Her current research is focussed on examining the impact of dysregulated myeloid cell inflammation on age-related diseases/comorbidities, including cancer cachexia, musculoskeletal injury and dementia.
Professor Scott Byrne is a teaching and research academic in The School of Medical Sciences at The University of Sydney. He leads the Cellular Photoimmunology Group and co-leads the Autoinflammatory Diseases Group at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research where he is also Co-Director of the Centre for Immunology and Allergy Research. Scott is internationally known and decorated for his studies on how exposure of the skin to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation modulates the immune system. This led to his discovery that a major way in which UV exerts its effects on the immune system is via activation of a unique subset of immune modulatory B cells. Scott’s team has also identified a number of skin immune cells and molecules that can be targeted therapeutically by novel immune modulators. This is allowing his team to design innovative strategies to prevent and treat a range of diseases including skin cancer and multiple sclerosis. He is also developing and testing novel immune-modulating drugs that could lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
Immediate Past Treasurer
Dr Emma Grant is an ARC DECRA Research Fellow working at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. Dr Grant completed her PhD in 2015 at the University of Melbourne, where she studied human CD8+ T cell responses towards influenza viruses. She was awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship at the end of her PhD in 2016, during which she completed a 2 year postdoctoral position at Cardiff University in Wales, UK, before returning to Monash University in early 2018. She currently undertakes her research within the Gras Laboratory under the supervision of A/Prof Stephanie Gras at La Trobe University. Her interests remain within anti-viral immunity and her research focuses on understanding key correlates of immune protection against different viral infections.
ACT Councillor | Click here to contact
Dr Julia Ellyard is a Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the John Curtin School of Medical Research. She completed a BSc (Honours) at University of Sydney in 2003, and a PhD with Professor Chris Parish at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University in 2008. She undertook postdoctoral training with Professor Michael Neuberger at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK, and in 2010, Dr Ellyard returned to JCSMR to work with Professor Carola Vinuesa on the development of antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases. In 2014, she received inaugural Judith Whitworth Fellowship to continue her research with Prof Vinuesa and as a team leader in the Centre for Personalised Immunology. Her research interests focus on understanding how genetic variants affect immune cell function to break tolerance and cause autoimmune diseases such as lupus. She is particularly interested in the role cytokine play in the development of autoimmunity and how they are regulated.
Dr Ellyard also has a strong commitment to Teaching and Learning, and training the next generation of medical researchers. She currently convenes two third year biology courses and is the Associate Dean Teaching and Learning for the College of Health and Medicine.
NSW Councillor | Click here to contact
Felix Marsh-Wakefield is a post-doctoral researcher part of the Liver Injury & Cancer Program (Centenary Institute) and Human Cancer & Viral Immunology Laboratory (University of Sydney). He is an immunologist interested in investigating the role of various immune cells in a range of diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma and multiple sclerosis. This primarily involves bioinformatics to assist in the analysis of high dimensional data, including that of imaging mass cytometry. He is part of the Marylou Ingram Scholarship Program run by the International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC).
QLD Councillor | Click here to contact
A/ Prof Severine Navarro is a Children’s Hospital Foundation Fellow and Steering Committee member of the Woolworth Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research. She leads the Mucosal Immunology Group at QIMR Berghofer and her research focuses on host-microbiome interactions and the initiation/maintenance of regulatory responses in health and disease. Severine undertook her PhD at the Institut de Pharmacologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (France) with Dr Valerie Julia where she developed novel strategies to induce and recruit non-allergen-specific Tregs in the airways to control allergic diseases. She then moved to James Cook University (Cairns Campus) where she worked on hookworm-derived therapeutics and identified specific proteins able to suppress allergic responses and colitis. Severine uses both animal systems and human tissues to further develop this work to the clinics.
SA/NT Councillor | Click here to contact
Dr Damon Tumes' main research interests are lymphocyte differentiation and immunological memory in the context of chronic allergic inflammation. He received a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Adelaide in 2009 followed by post-doctoral studies at Chiba University, Japan and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide. Damon is now a lab head at the University of South Australia and SA Pathology Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) in Adelaide and is a visiting associate professor at Chiba University.
VIC/TAS Councillor | Click here to contact
Dr Louise Rowntree is an Early-Mid Career Researcher, mentored by Professor Katherine Kedzierska since 2019 at University of Melbourne (UoM), Doherty Institute. She completed her PhD at Monash University (AMREP) in 2016 on human cross-reactive CD8+ T-cells in viral infections before joining Professor Tony Purcell's Laboratory (Monash, Clayton). Her work focuses on dissecting anti-viral responses in high-risk groups, including First Nations peoples, hematology patients, children and pregnant women, with a particular emphasis on T cell epitope identification and understanding key features of T cell responses associated with severe disease.
WA Councillor | Click here to contact
Dr Jennifer Currenti is a postdoctoral researcher at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and Curtin University. They completed their PhD from the University of Western Australia in 2022 on the effect of viral adaptation and T cell receptor usage on natural and vaccine-induced cellular immunity. Currently, their research investigates the role of T cells in immunotherapy response in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
NZ Councillor | Click here to contact
Dr Inken Kelch is a research fellow in the Dunbar laboratory at the University of Auckland. Her research employs novel 3D imaging technology and computational modelling to investigate how lymph node structure supports its function. After graduating from the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, she completed her PhD at the University of Auckland and contributed to multiple projects involving human dendritic cells, novel cancer vaccines, and engineered skin during her postdoctoral training. Her current research focuses on improving the design of cancer vaccines to optimise their delivery and induction of anti-cancer responses.
Immunology & Cell Biology Editor-in-Chief
Professor Adrian Liston is Editor-in-Chief of Immunology & Cell Biology and Professor of Pathology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Liston trained at Adelaide University before a PhD at the John Curtain School of Medical Research with Professor Chris Goodnow. Liston has extensively worked in the cellular control over immune/tolerance switches, and how molecular defects in these switches can lead to pathologies ranging from autoimmunity and primary immunology to diabetes and neuropathology. Liston has been awarded the Francqui Chair, the Eppendorf Prize and fellowship to the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Biology. Beyond his research interests, Liston works on improving equality of opportunity within the scientific career structure, and is active in public engagement and commercialisation.
Clinical & TranslationaI Immunology Editor-in-Chief
Equity Diversity Inclusion (EDI) Coordinator and Chair, EDI Committee | Click here to contact
Diana Hansen completed her PhD studies at the University of Buenos Aires in the context of a collaborative program between the National Institute of Parasitology in Argentina and the National Veterinary Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. She turned to malaria research during her postdoctoral training at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Melbourne, Australia, where she established an internationally recognised program to investigate inflammatory responses responsible for the induction of severe malaria. Diana is now a Laboratory Head in the Division of Infectious Disease and Immune Defence at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. She is also an Associate Professor at the Department of Medicine in The University of Melbourne. Diana’s main current research focuses on finding solutions to tackle two devastating mosquito-borne infectious diseases, malaria and dengue, which together account for 600 million clinical cases worldwide annually. In 2020, Diana also turned into COVID-19 research, setting up clinical studies in Australia and overseas. Her main interests include understanding mechanisms regulating pathogenesis and induction of immunity to these infectious diseases and she is pursuing those goals using pre-clinical infection models as well as applying systems immunology approaches to human studies in relevant endemic areas. Diana’s research is primarily funded by the Australian NHMRC, e-ASIA, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian Academy of Science.
Newsletter Editor | Click here to contact
Deborah undertook her PhD at the Garvan in the laboratory of Prof Chris Goodnow investigating the cross-reactivity of B cell responses to self and foreign antigens in mouse models. More recently her research has also extended into understanding the cross-reactivity of natural antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2. In 2020 she was awarded an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellowship and a COVID-19 Catalytic Grant allowing her to continue her research.
A/Prof Joanne Reed is a Principal Research Fellow and Lab head at Westmead Institute with a longstanding interest in autoimmune disease. She completed her PhD at Flinders University and received a NHMRC CJ Martin Fellowship for postdoctoral training at New York University. She then worked at Australian National University and Garvan Institute. Joanne moved to Westmead Institute in 2021 where she leads a team investigating the origins and pathogenesis of autoimmune and amyloid diseases. Her current research uses single cell genomics and recombinant antibody technology to improve prediction and treatment of autoimmune and amyloid diseases.
Visiting Speaker Program Coordinator | Click here to contact
Dr Zeeshan Chaudhry is a Walter Benjamin postdoctoral Fellow at University of Queensland Frazer Institute. He was trained as a microbiologist at University of Veterinary and Animal Science, Lahore. He completed his doctoral research in 2020 from Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Germany. His earlier work focused on T cell responses to viruses and strategies that viruses employ to evade these immune responses. Later, he studied SARS-CoV-2 evolution and adaptation kinetics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, he is perusing his postdoctoral research under Prof Gabrielle Belz’s supervision. His current focus is on deciphering the epigenetic and transcriptional profiles of T cells in order to understand the molecular circuits that generate protective T cell memory.
Annual Meeting Coordinator
A/Prof Antje Blumenthal’s research focuses on innate immune sensors, regulators of inflammation, and discovery of new therapeutic opportunities for challenging infectious diseases, with a specific emphasis on tuberculosis and sepsis. A microbiology graduate from Kiel University (Germany), she pursued her PhD research in Immunology at the Leibniz Research Center for Medicine and Biosciences (Germany). After postdoctoral work at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York (USA), she now heads the Infection and Inflammation Group at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. Associate Professor Blumenthal holds editorial responsibilities at the Journal of Immunology, Infection and Immunity, and Frontiers in Immunology. Other contributions to the scientific community include roles as co-Chair for the 2017 ASI Annual Scientific Meeting, Chair of the UQ Animal Ethcs Committee, and Chair of the UQ Diamantina Institute Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Day of Immunology Coordinator | Click here to contact
Dr Caleb Dawson is a postdoc in the lab of Prof Stephen Nutt at WEHI where he is using imaging and tissue engineering to study resident immune cells in the breast. He completed his PhD in 2019 on breast development and cancer at WEHI. He used advanced 3D and intravital imaging to reveal novel breast resident macrophages and to study epithelial stem cell behaviour during puberty. Caleb was awarded a Jack Brockhoff Early Career Research Grant in 2021, an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellowship in 2022, the Griffith University Discovery Award in 2022 and several microscopy art prizes. His current research is focused on deciphering cell–cell communication networks in the breast immune environment to improve cancer prevention and treatment.
Special Interest Groups Coordinator | Click here to contact
Dr Angelica Lau received her PhD from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney in 2018 and is currently pursuing a post-doc in the B Cell Biology Lab of Professor Robert Brink. She is interested in understanding the mechanisms that drive B cell selection during humoural responses and how B cell self-tolerance is regulated in autoimmune diseases. Angelica also has a strong passion for education and science communication and was recipient of the BD Science Communication Award in 2015. She endeavours to bring fresh and educational insights on Immunology research to the wider community.
Deputy EDI Coordinator
Sumaira Hasnain graduated with her PhD in December 2010 from The University of Manchester. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland with a team of 9 researchers. A/Prof Hasnain was the first globally to demonstrate that immunity can modulate protein production in secretory cells in infection and chronic diseases. Her long-term vision has been to characterise these novel immune factors and manipulate them therapeutically using pre-clinical models of immune-driven pathologies. She holds a patent for targeted immunotherapy in metabolic disease which has led to the formation of a spin-off company, Jetra Therapeutics and venture capitalist funding. She has a rapid upward trajectory in research, evident by extensive body of high-quality publications including in Nature Medicine, Oncogene and Gastroenterology. She has been awarded more than $5 million in competitive funding and has won 19 awards to date, including an award from the Children’s Health Foundation in 2019. She is an associate editor for the Clinical and Translational Immunology Journal (impact factor 7.2). She is a well-recognised emerging leader in the field as evident by a recent invitation to chair at the Immunology 2020 conference by American Association of Immunologists.
Chief Executive Officer | Click here to contact
Dr Tyani Chan is the current CEO of ASI. She was formerly the Group Leader of the 'Autoantibodies' Group in the Immunology Division, Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Under the guidance of Prof. Robert Brink, Tyani earnt her PhD which focussed on autoimmunity and allergic diseases.
Tyani is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and has experience in business strategy, marketing, communications and finance.