Mucosal Immunology


Mucosal Immunology


Chairperson Simon Phipps
QIMR Berghofer
[email protected]

Treasurer Colby Zaph
Monash University
[email protected]

Secretary Lisa Connor
Malaghan Institute
[email protected]

SMI Liaison Michael McGuckin
[email protected] (SMI President-Elect)

State reps:

NSW: Simon Keely (UoN)

NZ: Lisa Connor (Malaghan Institute)

QLD: Emily Bryan (QUT) and Sumaira Hasnain (UQ)

SA: Damon Tumes (Uni of South Australia)

VIC/TAS: Lucie Rankin (WEHI)

WA: Jonatan Leffler (Telethon Kids Institute)

Mucosal Immunology – An overview

The mucosal surfaces of the body, such as the skin, respiratory tract and genitor-urinary tract have a higher risk of infection due to their interaction with the external environment. Mucosal immunology refers to those aspects of the immune system that protect the body from infection at these surfaces. The mucosal immune system is comprised of mechanical (mucus), chemical (secretory immunoglobulins and antimicrobial proteins) and cellular factors. While not independent of the systemic immune system, the mucosal immune system is autonomously regulated and has defence mechanisms specific to each mucosal compartment.

Mucosal immunology in health and disease

An important factor undertaken by the mucosal immune system is the ability to distinguish between innocuous antigens, such as dietary molecules and commensal bacteria, and infectious pathogens. Initiation of an immune response to innocuous antigens leads to a variety of diseases, in particular inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies and asthma. Dys-regulation of the immune response and a breakdown in mechanisms regulating homeostasis also underpin various other chronic diseases. Understanding the way the mucosal immune system functions is now the focus of mechanistic and clinical research world-wide. Furthermore, harnessing the power of the mucosal immune system is driving new approaches to vaccination.

Aims of the Mucosal Immunology Special Interest Group

The aim of the mucosal immunology special interest group is to promote the discipline of mucosal immunology. 

History of Mucosal Immunology in Australia

Prof. Allan Cripps was one of the first researchers involved in establishment of the SIG in Mucosal Immunology in 1992. A brief history of the SIG for Mucosal Immunology has been published in the ASI Newsletter in December 2010. 


Members of the Mucosal Immunology SIG keep in contact during the year through tele conference and formally get together during the annual workshop, which is held in conjunction with the ASI Annual Scientific Meeting. 

Mucosal Immunology Workshop

At the 2019 ASI meeting in Adelaide, the Mucosal SIG will contribute to the organisation of a pre-conference workshop with a Mucosal Immunology focus. Please refer to the ASI conference website for more information.

ASI Mucosal Immunology and Microbiome Symposium, Noosa

With much regret we have had to cancel this for 2020 and look forward to seeing you at our next meeting. 

Mucosal Immunology Journal

The official journal for the Society for Mucosal Immunology is ‘Mucosal Immunology’, a Nature publication with an impact factor in 2017 of 7.36 (2017 Journal Citation Report, Thomson Reuters, 2018). For more information visit

Graham Jackson Memorial Mucosal Immunology Prize is $500 in 2019

Professor Graham Jackson is considered one of the pioneers in mucosal immunology in Australia. In his memory, the Mucosal Immunology SIG rewards the best poster or oral presentation by a research student or postdoctoral investigator in the area of Mucosal Immunology, presented at the ASI SIG Workshop or the ASI Mucosal Immunology Symposium. Postgraduate students and postdoctoral investigators (with up to 8 years research experience after award of PhD) who are ASI members are eligible to apply. The presentations are assessed on excellence and originality of scientific content in Mucosal Immunology and clarity of the presentation by a panel of peers, none of whom is a past or present supervisor of any applicant. The Graham Jackson Memorial Mucosal Immunology Prize is valued at $250 each and presented at the annual ASI meeting. From time to time, the Society for Mucosal Immunology sponsors one of more poster prizes up to the value of $500. These prizes may be used to finance attendance at the international meeting of the Society for Mucosal Immunology. The application procedure for these prizes will be advertised with the annual ASI meeting registration details. The Mucosal Immunology SIG maintains close ties with the international Society for Mucosal Immunology. For more information:

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