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Cesar Tovar

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Cesar Tovar

Technical Officer - Microbiology
Menzies Institute for Medical Research

Room 438-08 , Medical Science 2

+61 3 6226 4631 (phone)

Cesar.Tovar@utas.edu.au

Cesar is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania. He is part of the team researching immunologic aspects of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), a transmissible cancer that is critically affecting the Tasmanian devil populations in the wild. His research contributed to the discovery of a highly specific and sensitive maker for DFTD which has greatly improved the diagnosis of the disease. His research also contributed to the understanding of the nature of this unique transmissible cancer.

Biography

Cesar is a biologist from the National University of Colombia BSc(Hons). Before moving to Australia Cesar worked as an environmental scientist for different private and government agencies in Colombia. In Australia he completed postgraduate studies at the University of Tasmania (GradDipEnvSt(Hons) and PhD) and worked for the Department of Parks and Wildlife Tasmania. Currently he is working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Menzies Institute for Medical Research in Hobart.

Career summary

Qualifications

  • PhD, University of Tasmania, Australia, 2012. Insights into the nature and immune escape of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD)
  • GradDipEnvSt(1st Class Hons), University of Tasmania, 2007. The effects of tourism on local social values: A case study of Northwest Tasmania
  • GradDipEnvSt, University of Los Andes, Colombia, 1999
  • BSc (1st Class Hons), National University of Colombia, Colombia, 1994. Morphological detection of the peptide S-17 from the synthetic vaccine SPf-66 in human red blood cells

Languages (other than English)

  • Native Spanish speaker

Memberships

Professional practice

Member of:

  • The Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR)
  • The Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australasia (MEPSA)
  • Tasmanian Haematology Immunology and Neoplasia Group (THING)
  • Wildlife Disease Association (WDA)

Teaching

Human Biology, Biochemistry

Teaching expertise

While undertaking his PhD research Cesar worked as a tutor and demonstrator for the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Biotechnology at the University of Tasmania.

View more on Dr Cesar Tovar Lopez in WARP

Research Themes

Cesar's research aligns to the University's research themes of Environment and Better Health. His research focuses on the identification and characterisation of tumour antigens in Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) using an immunoproteomic approach. DFTD is a unique transmissible cancer spread by biting in the Tasmanian devil population. Our knowledge about the interaction of this cancer with the host immune system and the mechanisms that allow their transplantation between individuals is very limited. Therefore, this cancer is an exceptional model to study cancer immunology. The analysis of tumour antigens in DFTD will provide a better understanding of tumour immunology by identifying key proteins involved in the immune response and tumour development. Identification of antigens is also relevant for disease diagnosis and will offer potential immunological targets for the development of immunotherapy strategies.

Collaboration

Cesar's research team at Menzies has close working relations with research groups at the University of Cambridge and Southampton University in the UK, the University of Sydney, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, CSL Melbourne, the University of South Australia and the Central Science Laboratory at the University of Tasmania.

Awards

  • Best poster presentation at the Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australia Conference and finalist for the Best of the Best Student Prize at the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress, 2010. A tumour-specific diagnostic marker for transmissible facial tumours of Tasmanian devils, Melbourne, Australia
  • Best student oral presentation. Immunohistochemistry studies of Devil Facial Tumour Disease. 2009. Molecular and Experimental Pathology Society of Australia Conference, Sydney, Australia
  • Best student oral presentation. Immunohistochemistry of DFTD and identification of a potential marker, 2009, THING Annual Scientific Meeting, Launceston, Australia

Current projects

The Immune Response of the Tasmanian Devil & Devil Facial Tumour Disease

  • Characterization of tumour associated antigens in Devil Facial Tumour Disease
  • Identification of Heat Shock Proteins in Tasmanian devils

Fields of Research

  • Animal immunology (310905)
  • Veterinary immunology (300906)
  • Cellular immunology (320404)
  • Humoural immunology and immunochemistry (320405)
  • Animal cell and molecular biology (310902)
  • Aquaculture (300501)
  • Veterinary epidemiology (300905)
  • Tourism management (350803)
  • Urban geography (440612)
  • Immunogenetics (incl. genetic immunology) (320406)
  • Medical parasitology (320704)
  • Tumour immunology (320409)
  • Veterinary diagnosis and diagnostics (300904)
  • Proteomics and intermolecular interactions (excl. medical proteomics) (310109)
  • Veterinary pathology (300910)
  • Microbial ecology (310703)
  • Cancer cell biology (321101)
  • Veterinary sciences (300999)

Research Objectives

  • Terrestrial biodiversity (180606)
  • Clinical health (200199)
  • Socio-cultural issues in tourism (110402)
  • Expanding knowledge in the health sciences (280112)
  • Other health (209999)
  • Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna) (100202)
  • Veterinary biological preventatives (241601)

Publications

Cesar's research has contributed to the understanding of the nature of Devil Facial Tumour Disease and the characterisation of a specific diagnostic marker for the disease. These findings have been published in the international journal Science and have placed the University of Tasmania and Menzies Research Institute at the forefront of research in this area.

Total publications

26

Highlighted publications

(1 outputs)
YearTypeCitationAltmetrics
2010Journal ArticleMurchison EP, Tovar C, Hsu A, Bender HS, Kheradpour P, et al., 'The Tasmanian Devil Transcriptome Reveals Schwann Cell Origins of a Clonally Transmissible Cancer ', Science, 327, (5961) pp. 84-87. ISSN 0036-8075 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1126/science.1180616 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 156Web of Science - 139

Co-authors: Obendorf D; Blizzard CA; Kreiss A; Woods GM

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Journal Article

(20 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2019Patchett AL, Coorens THH, Darby J, Wilson R, McKay MJ, et al., 'Two of a kind: transmissible Schwann cell cancers in the endangered Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)', Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 77 pp. 1847-1858. ISSN 1420-682X (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-019-03259-2 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Patchett AL; Darby J; Wilson R; Pye RJ; Flies AS; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2018Caldwell A, Coleby R, Tovar C, Stammnitz MR, Kwon YM, et al., 'The newly-arisen devil facial tumour disease 2 (DFT2) reveals a mechanism for the emergence of a contagious cancer', Elife, 7 Article e35314. ISSN 2050-084X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.7554/eLife.35314 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 19Web of Science - 20

Co-authors: Woods GM

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2018Patchett AL, Wilson R, Charlesworth JC, Corcoran LM, Papenfuss AT, et al., 'Transcriptome and proteome profiling reveals stress-induced expression signatures of imiquimod-treated Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) cells', OncoTarget, 9, (22) pp. 15895-15914. ISSN 1949-2553 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.24634 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6

Co-authors: Patchett AL; Wilson R; Charlesworth JC; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2018Tovar C, Patchett AL, Kim V, Wilson R, Darby J, et al., 'Heat shock proteins expressed in the marsupial Tasmanian devil are potential antigenic candidates in a vaccine against devil facial tumour disease', PLoS ONE, 13, (4) Article e0196469. ISSN 1932-6203 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196469 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Patchett AL; Wilson R; Darby J; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2018Woods GM, Fox S, Flies A, Tovar CD, Jones M, et al., 'Two decades of the impact of Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD)', Integrative and Comparative Biology, 58, (6) pp. 1043-1054. ISSN 1540-7063 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/icb/icy118 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Woods GM; Flies A; Jones M; Hamede R; Lyons AB; Bettiol S

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2017Patchett AL, Tovar C, Corcoran LM, Lyons AB, Woods GM, 'The toll-like receptor ligands Hiltonol® (polyICLC) and imiquimod effectively activate antigen-specific immune responses in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii)', Developmental and Comparative Immunology, 76 pp. 352-360. ISSN 0145-305X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.dci.2017.07.004 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 10

Co-authors: Patchett AL; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2017Tovar C, Pye RJ, Kreiss A, Cheng Y, Brown GK, et al., 'Regression of devil facial tumour disease following immunotherapy in immunised Tasmanian devils', Scientific Reports, 7 Article 43827. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/srep43827 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 30Web of Science - 30

Co-authors: Pye RJ; Kreiss A; Brown GK; Darby J; Malley RC; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2016Brown GK, Tovar C, Cooray AA, Kreiss A, Darby J, et al., 'Mitogen activated Tasmanian devil blood mononuclear cells kill devil facial tumour disease cells', Immunology and Cell Biology, 94, (7) pp. 673-679. ISSN 0818-9641 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/icb.2016.38 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 17

Co-authors: Brown GK; Cooray AA; Kreiss A; Darby J; Bettiol SS; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2016Patchett AL, Darby JM, Tovar C, Lyons AB, Woods GM, 'The immunomodulatory small molecule imiquimod induces apoptosis in devil facial tumour cell lines', PL o S One, 11, (12) Article e0168068. ISSN 1932-6203 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168068 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 9

Co-authors: Patchett AL; Darby JM; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2015Kreiss A, Brown GK, Tovar C, Lyons AB, Woods GM, 'Evidence for induction of humoral and cytotoxic immune responses against devil facial tumor disease cells in Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) immunized with killed cell preparations', Vaccine, 33, (26) pp. 3016-3025. ISSN 0264-410X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.01.039 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 37Web of Science - 35

Co-authors: Kreiss A; Brown GK; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2015Patchett AL, Latham R, Brettingham-Moore KH, Tovar C, Lyons AB, et al., 'Toll-like receptor signaling is functional in immune cells of the endangered Tasmanian devil', Developmental and Comparative Immunology, 53 pp. 123-133. ISSN 0145-305X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.dci.2015.07.003 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 13

Co-authors: Patchett AL; Latham R; Brettingham-Moore KH; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2015Pye RJ, Pemberton D, Tovar C, Tubio JM, Dun KA, et al., 'A second transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, (2) pp. 374-379. ISSN 0027-8424 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1519691113 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 104Web of Science - 100

Co-authors: Pye RJ; Darby J; Kreiss A; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2015Woods GM, Howson LJ, Brown GK, Tovar C, Kreiss A, et al., 'Immunology of a transmissible cancer spreading among Tasmanian devils', Journal of Immunology, 195, (1) pp. 23-29. ISSN 0022-1767 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500131 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 16

Co-authors: Woods GM; Howson LJ; Brown GK; Kreiss A; Lyons AB

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2014Howson LJ, Morris KM, Kobayashi T, Tovar C, Kreiss A, et al., 'Identification of dendritic cells, B cell and T cell subsets in Tasmanian devil lymphoid tissue; evidence for poor immune cell infiltration into devil facial tumors', Anatomical Record, 297, (5) pp. 925-938. ISSN 1932-8486 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/ar.22904 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 26Web of Science - 25

Co-authors: Howson LJ; Kreiss A; Woods GM

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2013Siddle HV, Kreiss A, Tovar C, Yuen CK, Cheng Y, et al., 'Reversible epigenetic down-regulation of MHC molecules by devil facial tumour disease illustrates immune escape by a contagious cancer', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110, (13) pp. 5103-5108. ISSN 0027-8424 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1219920110 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 127Web of Science - 128

Co-authors: Kreiss A; Hamede R; Jones ME; Woods GM

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2011Dorantes Aranda JJ, Waite TD, Godrant A, Rose AL, Tovar CD, et al., 'Novel application of a fish gill cell line assay to assess ichthyotoxicity of harmful marine microalgae', Harmful Algae, 10, (4) pp. 366-373. ISSN 1568-9883 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2011.01.002 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 36Web of Science - 37

Co-authors: Dorantes Aranda JJ; Woods GM; Hallegraeff GM

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2011Kreiss A, Tovar C, Obendorf DL, Dun K, Woods GM, 'A murine xenograft model for a transmissible cancer in Tasmanian devils', Veterinary Pathology, 48, (2) pp. 475-481. ISSN 0300-9858 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0300985810380398 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 19Web of Science - 17

Co-authors: Kreiss A; Obendorf DL; Woods GM

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2011Tovar C, Obendorf D, Murchison EP, Papenfuss AT, Kreiss A, et al., 'Tumor-specific diagnostic marker for transmissible facial tumors of Tasmanian devils: immunohistochemistry studies', Veterinary Pathology, 48, (6) pp. 1195-1203. ISSN 1544-2217 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0300985811400447 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 38Web of Science - 39

Co-authors: Obendorf D; Kreiss A; Woods GM

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2010Murchison EP, Tovar C, Hsu A, Bender HS, Kheradpour P, et al., 'The Tasmanian Devil Transcriptome Reveals Schwann Cell Origins of a Clonally Transmissible Cancer ', Science, 327, (5961) pp. 84-87. ISSN 0036-8075 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1126/science.1180616 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 156Web of Science - 139

Co-authors: Obendorf D; Blizzard CA; Kreiss A; Woods GM

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2008Tovar CD, Lockwood M, 'Social impacts of tourism: an Australian regional case study', International Journal of Tourism Research, 10, (4) pp. 365-378. ISSN 1099-2340 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/jtr.667 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 96Web of Science - 88

Co-authors: Lockwood M

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Conference Publication

(6 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2016Patchett A, Pinfold T, Tovar C, Lyons B, Woods G, 'Abstract B040: Imiquimod initiates tumor specific overload of the ER stress response in Tasmanian devil facial cancer cells', Second CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: translating science into survival, September 25-28 2016, New York, NY (2016) [Conference Extract]

DOI: 10.1158/2326-6066.IMM2016-B040 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Patchett A; Pinfold T; Lyons B; Woods G

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2016Patchett AL, Kalodimos G, Tovar C, Lyons AB, Woods GM, 'Analysis of toll-like receptor responses in the endangered Tasmanian devil', International Congress of Immunology, August 21-26, 2016, Melbourne, Australia (2016) [Conference Extract]

DOI: 10.1002/eji.201670200 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Patchett AL; Kalodimos G; Lyons AB; Woods GM

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2015Pinfold T, Brown GK, Patchett AL, Tovar CD, Bettiol SS, et al., 'Curse of the Devil: Devil Facial Tumour Disease', Australasian Cytometry Society 38th Annual Scientific Meeting, October 11-14, 2015, Perth, Australia (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Pinfold T; Brown GK; Patchett AL; Bettiol SS; Woods GM

2014Tovar C, Pye RJ, Kreiss A, Woods G, 'The immune response of Tasmanian devils to devil facial tumour disease cell preparations', The 5th Australasian Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics Development Meeting, 7-9 May, Melbourne, Australia (2014) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Pye RJ; Kreiss A; Woods G

2009Kreiss A, Tovar C, Woods GM, 'Immunisation of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) against Devil Facial Tumour Disease Tumour Cells', The 5th International Veterinary Vaccines and Diagnostics Conference, 19-23 July, Madison, USA (2009) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kreiss A; Woods GM

2006Tovar CD, 'The effects of tourism in Northwest Tasmania', School of Geography and Environmental Studies Conference 2006: Full Program with Abstracts, October, Hobart, pp. 8-8. (2006) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

  • Chief Investigator. Selection of devil facial tumour associated antigens as a tool for the development of a prophylactic vaccine. Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research – University of Tasmania Foundation 2012-2013
  • Chief Investigator. Analysis of the Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) to identify unique tumour antigens for diagnosis and vaccination. Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research – University of Tasmania Foundation 2009-2010
  • Chief Investigator. Characterisation of immunological targets for the development of a vaccine to protect Tasmanian devils against a contagious cancer. Research Enhancement Grant Scheme (REGS). University of Tasmania 2014-2015
  • Chief Investigator. Establishment of a mouse model to study the biology of Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research – University of Tasmania Foundation 2010-2011

Funding Summary

Number of grants

9

Total funding

$222,843

Projects

Can the DFTD tumour microenvironment influence vaccine responses in the Tasmanian devil? (2018)$32,775
Description
This project will use sequencing to identify key cell subsets and molecular functions in devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) that are associated with tumour survival and regression. This information will be harnessed for improvement of candidate DFTD therapies and vaccines in the Tasmanian devil.
Funding
University of Tasmania Foundation Inc ($32,775)
Scheme
Grant-Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research Gran
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Patchett AL; Lyons AB; Tovar Lopez CD
Year
2018
Deciphering the cellular origin of the second Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFT2) (2017)$34,165
Description
We have established a multifaceted study to understand the cellular origin of DFT2 by producing large datasets with gene and protein profiles for DFT1 and DFT2. This proposal will use bioinformatics tools for the analysis of these data and the interpretation of the results in order to promote a more comprehensive understanding of the biology of DFTD
Funding
University of Tasmania Foundation Inc ($34,165)
Scheme
Grant-Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research Gran
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Woods GM; Tovar Lopez CD; Wilson RA; McKay M; Papenfuss A
Year
2017
Bioplatforms Australia (BPA) - collaborative research (2016)$15,000
Description
Funds will be used to procure services from BPA that will support proteomics and research projects on, respectively, molecular mechanisms of DFTD and the physiological response of diatoms to environmental stresses.
Funding
Bioplatforms Australia Ltd ($15,000)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Wilson RR; Foo E; King AE; Tovar Lopez CD; Martin AR
Year
2016
Characterisation of immunological targets for the development of a vaccine to protect Tasmanian devils against a contagious cancer (2014)$14,500
Funding
University of Tasmania ($14,500)
Scheme
Grant-Research Enhancement (REGS)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Tovar Lopez CD
Year
2014
MHC-I expression on DFTD tumour cells and monoclonal antibodies as a strategy to induce and analyse an immune response to DFTD (2012)$29,736
Funding
University of Tasmania Foundation Inc ($29,736)
Scheme
Award-Eric Guiler Foundation
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Kreiss A; Woods GM; Lyons AB; Tovar Lopez CD
Year
2012
Selection of devil facial tumour associated antigens as a tool for the development of a prophylactic vaccine (2012)$33,661
Funding
University of Tasmania Foundation Inc ($33,661)
Scheme
Grant-Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research Gran
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Tovar Lopez CD; Woods GM
Year
2012
Characterisation of DFTD tumour proteins eliciting immune responses in Tasmanian devils (2011)$26,500
Funding
University of Tasmania Foundation Inc ($26,500)
Scheme
Donation-Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Tovar Lopez CD; Woods GM; Kreiss A
Year
2011
Establishment of a mouse model to study the biology of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) (2009)$20,255
Funding
University of Tasmania Foundation Inc ($20,255)
Scheme
Donation-Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Woods GM; Kreiss A; Tovar Lopez CD; Shellie RA; Hilder EF; Breadmore MC
Year
2009
Analysis of Devil Tumour Disease to identify unique tumour antigens for diagnosis and vaccination (2008)$16,251
Funding
University of Tasmania Foundation Inc ($16,251)
Scheme
Donation-Dr Eric Guiler Tasmanian Devil Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Woods GM; Kreiss A; Tovar Lopez CD
Year
2008

Research Supervision

Cesar is currently supervising a PhD student (Analysis of toll-like receptors in Tasmanian devils and Devil Facial Tumour Disease) and an Honours student (Analysis of heat shock proteins in Tasmanian devils and DFTD).

Completed

1

Completed

DegreeTitleCompleted
PhDToll-Like Receptors in the Endangered Tasmanian Devil and Devil Facial Tumour Disease
Candidate: Amanda Louise Patchett
2018