Current ASI Council
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 Susanne Heinzel is a cellular immunologist at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne. Her work focuses on the quantitative analysis of the rules that govern the activation, survival and expansion of T and B lymphocytes in health and disease. She is interested in understanding the signal integration and regulation of cell fate decisions in lymphocytes after activation. She has discovered that the oncogene Myc controls the cell division of activated lymphocytes in a time dependent manner. Her recent work has been published in journals such as Science, Nat Immunology, Nat Comms, JI and PNAS.
A/Prof Elissa Deenick is head of the Lymphocyte Signalling and Activation laboratory at UNSW Sydney/Garvan Institute of Medicine, and honorary secretary of the Australasian Society for Immunology. Elissa undertook her PhD at the Centenary Institute/University of Sydney with Phil Hodgkin. She then moved to Toronto, Canada to work with Pam Ohashi at the University of Toronto/Ontario Cancer Institute. She returned to Sydney in 2007 and is now an Assoc/Prof and Scientia Fellow at UNSW Sydney, and a Lab Head and member of Faculty at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Her interest is in how lymphocytes integrate signals to generate appropriate protective immunity and how this goes wrong in disease. In particular, her group studies both patients with monogenic immunodeficiencies as well as mouse models of these conditions to dissect the intracellular signaling pathways that control lymphocyte differentiation and survival.
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.
NSW Councillor and Special Interest Group Coordinator
Dr Helen McGuire obtained her PhD from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney in 2011. She then subsequently received an NHMRC postdoctoral fellowship, allowing her to undertake training at Stanford University, California. At Stanford, Helen was under the mentorship of Professor Mark Davis in the Institute for Immunity Transplantation and Infection, a pioneering lab in the use of single cell proteomics technology know as Cytometry by Time-Of-Flight or CyTOF.
Dr Sumaira Hasnain graduated from The University of Manchester, UK in December 2010 before moving to the Mater Research Institute in Australia in 2011. She now leads the Immunopathology Group at the Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland. She has an interest in chronic inflammatory diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes as well as infectious diseases. Her long-term vision is 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 of a specific immune factor in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
SA/NT Councillor and 2019 LOC Meeting Co-Chair
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.
A/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.
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
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
A/Prof Stuart Mannering completed his PhD on human Dendritic cells with Derek Hart in Christchurch, NZ. After his PhD he was a postdoc at The University of Melbourne and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. In 2008 he established his group at St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. The major focus of his group’s work is to identify the targets of human autoimmune T-cell response that causes T1D and to develop effective antigen specific therapies for T1D.
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 Coordinator and Social Media Manager
2019 LOC Meeting Co-Chair
Dr Iain Comerford is a senior research fellow at the University of Adelaide where he co-leads the Chemokine Biology Laboratory. Since completing his doctoral studies at the University of Glasgow in 2005, Dr Comerford’s research interests have included chemokines and their receptors and how cell migration in autoimmunity and particularly CNS autoimmunity is regulated. He served as SA/NT state councillor for ASI (2016-2018) and is currently a co-chair of the 2019 ASI annual conference to be held in Adelaide
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.