Viral Immunology and Immunopathology
The overall aim of our research program is to gain a better understanding of the immune response to viral infections, which will be key to developing novel therapeutic and vaccination strategies to combat viral diseases.
Our research program uses mouse models of viral infections, which are validated to predict human immune mechanisms, to study both innate and adaptive immunity to infection. Such an approach enables us to establish strong causal relationships and map the requirements for protection against viral infections in a way that is not possible in humans. We are studying innate, cell-mediated and antibody responses to both primary and secondary viral infection with the aim of determining the correlates of protective immunity. This is done using wild type and recombinant viruses (Pox, influenza A) in combination with wild type, gene knockout, gene knockin, TCR transgenic, BCR transgenic and chemically mutagenized mutant mouse models.
Specialist Fields and Areas of Investigation
- Mechanisms of generation of high affinity antiviral antibodies
- Induction of long-lived, protective antibody against viruses
- Amelioration of viral pneumonia
- How viruses evade the immune response
A novel approach to treatment of viral pneumonia
Viral infection-induced pneumonia is a consequence of an over-exuberant immune response associated with dysregulated inflammatory cytokine production. There are no specific treatments available for viral pneumonia. We have developed a novel regime for treatment of viral pneumonia (including influenza pneumonia) using animal models of human virus infection. Our preliminary results indicate that a combination of an antiviral plus a second compound is very effective in reducing viral load, lung pathology and increasing survival rates even if treatment is started after onset of symptoms.
How does your group transform healthcare and ageing in tasmania and around the globe?
Our novel approach to using a combination drug therapy to treat viral pneumonia is likely to reduce morbidity and mortality not just in Australia but also around the world.