Current ASI Council
Professor Stephen Turner is currently a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Head of the Department of Microbiology, Monash University. He was awarded his PhD in Viral Immunology from Monash University in 1997. He worked with Prof Janet Ruby at the University of Melbourne (1997-2002) studying poxvirus pathogenesis. He then joined the laboratory of Nobel Laureate, Professor Peter Doherty (St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, USA) to work on influenza virus-specific T cell immunity. He returned to the University of Melbourne in 2002, was awarded an NHMRC RD Wright Fellowship in 2005 establishing his own research group. He was awarded a Pfizer Australia Senior Research Fellowship in 2007, an ARC Future Fellowship in 2012, and is currently CIA on an NHMRC program grant that focuses on T cell immunity to influenza. His research interests utilize a combination of structural biology, genomics, systems biology, recombinant viral technology and cellular immunology to examine molecular factors that impact T cell responses to virus infection.
Immediate Past President
Prof John Fraser is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland and has been an immunology researcher for over 35 years begining with postdoctoral research at Harvard in the 1980s working on the structure of the MHC molecules and T cell Receptor that regulate cellular immunity. He is most interested in microbial virulence and understanding the human protective immune response to common pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. His Auckland based research group is engaged in novel vaccine designs that limit the virulence and pathogenicity of these bacteria.
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.
Dr Asolina Braun studied Biology and pursued a doctoral degree at Hannover Medical School in Germany with Reinhold Förster and Tim Worbs. Here she employed a novel micro-surgical procedure of intralymphatic injection together with multi-photon microscopy to study chemokine-driven migration of lymph-derived dendritic cells and T cells. She was awarded the Arnold Spiegel PhD prize and HIRSIB PhD prize for this work. A fellowship from the German Research Foundation enabled her to undertake post-doctoral studies with Francis Carbone and Thomas Gebhardt which focussed on how cytokines enable the retention and differentiation of tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) in extra-lymphoid tissues, particularly skin. During this time Asolina has contributed to the field by defining survival factors and differentiation signals TRM and developed a strong interest in skin immunology. She continues to work on skin immune responses in collaboration with Janssen.
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.
Anselm’s laboratory focuses on elucidating the genes and mechanisms controlling the development and function of B cells and other lymphocytes. To find new genes involved in B cell development we do screening of mice after random ENU mutagenesis. This process has led to the discovery of essential roles for different genes in the development, survival or function of B cells. Some key results were the discovery that defects in ATP11C, a phospholipid transporter, block early B cell development in the bone marrow and that the endosomal peptidase SPPL2A is essential for the survival of mature B cells. In NHMRC funded research projects they are currently following up on these discoveries to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the observed defects. Another recent focus in his group is the identification of novel causes for primary human immunodeficiencies. In collaboration with clinical groups in Australia and overseas they have sequenced the genome of patients without a known genetic cause. This has led to the discovery of the most likely causal mutation in different genes that were previously not known to be involved in the immune system. They are currently generating mouse models with the same mutations to better understand the molecular basis for the disease.
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.
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.
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.
Prof Scott Mueller is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and laboratory head in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, The University of Melbourne, at the Peter Doherty Institute. He completed his PhD at The University of Melbourne, performed postdoctoral training in the USA at Emory University and then at the National Institutes of Health. Scott’s research is focused on dissecting the fundamental cellular processes involved in immune responses in order to identify new targets for vaccine design and therapeutics.
Dr Bree Foley is a Senior Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute in the Cancer Immunotherapy Unit. Her current research is focused on understanding the immune response to paediatric cancers and to identify new ways to harness these responses. In particular, she is interested in natural killer (NK) cells and enhancing their functional capacity. Through her research, Dr Foley hopes to identify new and novel therapies for the treatment of cancer.
NZ Councillor and Chair, ASI 2020 Meeting Local Organising Committee
Dr Ries Langley works in the Infection and Immunity Laboratory at the University of Auckland. His research interests involve understanding interactions between the human immune system and the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Ries believes that targeting its virulence factors is a promising strategy to combat this bacterium. Neutralizing these toxins and immune evasion molecules will allow the host defences to better deal with invading pathogens in a way that is less likely to drive resistance and less harmful to the essential microbiota.
Anne La Flamme
Immunology & Cell Biology Editor-in-Chief
Clinical & TranslationaI Immunology Editor-in-Chief
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.
J. Alejandro Lopez
Prof Alejandro Lopez’s research interest in cancer immunotherapy has focused on clinical trials and the study of human DC biology. The growing prominent role of immunotherapy enhances the reach of his contribution on the planning and support of educational and training activities.
Prof Lopez has been a member of various international Immunology Societies since 1986 and within ASI, has served as QLD councillor (2004-2005), the Convener of the ASI International Visiting Speaker Program (2005-2015) and IUIS representative since 2016.
Dr Joanna Groom’s research is focused on how cellular positioning and communication control immune responses. During her PhD, at the Garvan Institute, she investigated the cellular signalling critical to autoimmunity development. During her postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr Groom discovered a novel role for chemokine signaling during T cell priming. Dr Groom is a Laboratory Head in the Immunology Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Her research investigates the context-specific signals that drive cell migration to balance T cell fate decisions, inflammation and immunosuppression.
Visiting Speaker Program Coordinator
Dr Martin Davey is an ARC DECRA Fellow and head of the Immune Surveillance Laboratory within the Monash University Biomedicine Discovery Institute. He has have received world- class training in human immunology, microbiology and molecular biology through a PhD from Cardiff University, UK and post-doctoral training in the labs of Prof. Benjamin Willcox, University of Birmingham, UK and ARC Laureate Fellow Prof. Jamie Rossjohn, Monash University. He is recognised internationally as an expert in human γδ T cell immunobiology in health and disease. His group seeks to improve our understanding of γδ T cell biology and the role of the unique γδ T cell receptor by using cutting-edge immune repertoire sequencing and single cell transcriptomics. The major focus of his group’s current research program is the response of γδ T cells to Plasmodium falciparum (Malaria), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) infections and their role in tissue immune surveillance. His group’s work is currently supported by funding from the ARC, US Department of Defense and the Rebecca L. Cooper Foundation.
Women's Initiative Coordinator
Dr Kylie Quinn is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow at RMIT with extensive research expertise in T cells, immunotherapeutics and ageing, as well as a longstanding interest in issues around equity and diversity. After a PhD with A/Prof Joanna Kirman (2004-08; Malaghan Institute) and post-doctoral positions with Dr Robert Seder (2008-13; Vaccine Research Center, NIH) and Prof Nicole La Gruta (2013-18; Uni Melb, Monash), Dr Quinn’s research now focuses on defining age-related functional defects in CD8 T cells and developing interventions that target these defects, to improve immunity in the elderly during infection, vaccination and CAR T cell therapy.
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 and Social Media Coordinator
Special Interest Groups Coordinator
I completed my doctoral degree as part of the International PhD Program at Institute Pasteur (Paris, France) in 2012. During my PhD, I laid strong foundations for my academic career and became a key researcher in the field of NK cell response to systemic inflammatory response syndrome and sepsis in animal models and intensive care unit (ICU) patients. In 2013, I joined QIMR as a postdoctoral fellow, and in 2016 I moved to the Immunotherapy Laboratory at WEHI to extend my knowledge in the areas of cancer immunoediting and immunotherapy under Prof. Nick Huntington mentorship. I started to gain independence by attracting peer-reviewed funding: an NHMRC ECF Peter Doherty Fellowship, an NHMRC New Investigator Project Grant, a National Breast Cancer Foundation Fellowship, three Cure Cancer Australia (CCA) PdCCRS Project Grants, and a Weekend to End Women's Cancer Grant as sole chief investigator. From my postdoctoral training, I have an extensive track record of publications in top tier journals including Blood, Cell Death Dis, JEM, PNAS, Nat Comms and Nat Immunol, and was awarded the 2019 Researcher of the Year by CCA and a 2020 QLD Young Tall Poppy Science Award. My work in the identification of new regulators of optimal in vivo NK cell function has earned me peer recognition as an emerging leader in this field. My current projects at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute aim to identify and translate the role of NK cells and develop novel immunotherapy approaches for different diseases.
Dr Tyani Chan is the current General Manager 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.