29 Jun 2022 9:30am10:30am
06 Jul 2022 9:30am10:30am
13 Jul 2022 9:30am10:30am
20 Jul 2022 9:30am10:30am

UQDI Webinar Seminar Series

This is a weekly series open to all occupants to attend. Seminars are held either via Zoom or in the TRI Auditorium, or as hybrid events.

2022 UQDI Seminar Series

Date Presenter Seminar Title Speaker Bio Location and Time
Wed 29 June

Dr Pablo Canete

Dr Magdalena Antczak

'T cells, B cells and autoimmunity'

'Bioinformatics in the fight for better disease outcomes'

Dr Pablo Canete is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Prof. Di Yu's research lab. Pablo was awarded a PhD in Immunology in 2019 under Prof. Carola Vinuesa’s mentorship at The Australian National University. During this time he characterised a novel T cell subset in humans responsible for modulating antibodies associated with allergic responses. He then continued as a postdoc with Prof Vinuesa investigating novel B cell tolerance mechanisms and characterising bespoke mouse models of autoimmunity at the Centre for Personalised Immunology. Dr. Canete’s findings have contributed to our understanding of how rogue antibody responses lead to autoimmunity. In February 2022 he joined Prof. Di Yu where he  hopes to understand novel approaches for harnessing T cell biology for therapeutic purposes.

Dr Magdalena Antczak is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Prof. Di Yu's research lab, where she investigates the evolution of the common gamma chain family of cytokines and their receptors, focusing on protein structure and protein-protein interactions. Magdalena obtained her PhD in Computational Biology from the University of Kent, the UK, in 2021. During her PhD, she conducted research with the main focus being identifying protein function and variation. Her findings have contributed to an increased understanding of the fundamental cellular functions, as well as mechanisms in which cancer cells develop resistance to various anti-cancer drugs.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium & Zoom

Wed 22 June

Dr Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti

'Targeting Innate Immunity and PANoptosis for the Treatment of Inflammatory and Infectious Diseases'

Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti is a world-leading expert in immunology and innate immunity. She is a Member and Vice Chair of the Immunology Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and she is the Rose Marie Thomas Endowed Chair. She is a founding member of the inflammasome field, and her lab continues to make critical contributions to this research discipline. She also identified master regulators of inflammasome activation and the cell death pathways pyroptosis, apoptosis, and necroptosis, leading her to pioneer the concept of PANoptosis and describe its implications in health and disease. Additionally, she has made significant contributions to cytokine research that have implications across several infectious and inflammatory diseases and cancers.

In recognition of her discoveries, she was awarded the AAI-BD Biosciences Investigator Award from the American Association of Immunology in 2015. Then in 2017, she received the Dolph O. Adams Outstanding Macrophage Researcher Award from the Society for Leukocyte Biology as well as the Eli Lilly and Company Elanco Research Award from the American Society for Microbiology. In 2018, she was honored with the Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research. Additionally, she has been named by Clarivate Analytics as one of the mostly highly cited researchers globally for four years running, and she was elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology in 2021. She also received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute in 2020, highlighting the breadth of impact of her work has across the disease spectrum. 

9:30am-10:30am 

Zoom only

Wed 15 June

Prof Gail Garvey

'Achieving equity in cancer outcomes for First Nations Peoples: A strategic research program'

Professor Gail Garvey is a senior Aboriginal researcher with over 30 years experience in Indigenous health and education. She is currently Professor of Indigenous Health Research in the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland. She has established an extensive and targeted research program focused on cancer, wellbeing and Australia’s First Nations people. She currently leads a National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence in targeted approaches to improve cancer services for Indigenous Australians.

Professor Garvey has extensive experience in translating research into policy and practice. Her contributions include leading the development of Australia’s first national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer policy, initiating and hosting the World’s first global Indigenous cancer conference and piloting the delivery of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program via Primary Health Care Services. She has published over 160 peer reviewed publications; and she has been awarded over $29 million in research funding as principal investigator.

9:30am-10:30am 

Zoom only

Wed 8 June

Dr Tatiane Yanes

Dr Peter McNaughton

'Genomic testing for paediatric inborn errors of immunity: from the laboratory to clinical practice'

Dr Tatiane Yanes is an NHMRC research fellow with the Integrating Genomics into Medicine Group at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, and genetic counsellor at the Queensland Children’s Hospital. Tatiane’s research focuses on the implementation of genomic technologies in healthcare and evaluating the ethical, legal and social implications of genomic testing. Her current projects include mainstreaming genomic testing at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, evaluating patient reported outcomes and upskilling clinicians to provide genomic testing for inborn errors of immunity.

Dr Peter McNaughton is a paediatric immunologists and allergist, and stem cell transplanter for inborn errors of immunity based at the Queensland Paediatric Immunology and Allergy Service, Queensland Children’s Hospital. Dr McNaughton has special interest in the genetic contribution to disease and has co-ordinated a project to mainstreaming genomic testing for paediatric inborn errors of immunity in Queensland and implement targeted and curative therapies.

3:00pm-4:00pm 

Zoom only

Wed 1 June

Dr Ryan Murph (QUT)

Davide Moi (UQDI)

'Interpreting tumour spheroid experiments using mathematical modelling and statistical uncertainty quantification'

'Exploitation of Immunogenic Cell Death and Proteasome Inhibition to Improve Cancer Immunotherapy'

Dr Ryan J. Murphy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Mathematical Biology at QUT. Ryan’s research is at the interface of applied mathematics, experimental biology and statistical uncertainty quantification. His current research focuses on tumour spheroid experiments with real-time cell cycle imaging under the supervision of Professor Matthew Simpson (QUT) and in close collaboration with Professor Nikolas Haass (UQDI) and Gency Gunasingh (UQDI). Ryan completed his PhD in Applied Mathematics at QUT in 2022 under the supervision of Professor Matthew Simpson (QUT) and Dr Pascal Buenzli (QUT), collaborating with Professor Nikolas Haass (UQDI), Gency Gunasingh (UQDI), and Professor Rik Thompson (QUT). Prior to starting his PhD Ryan worked in industry as a data analytics consultant for three years in the UK after completing his integrated bachelors and masters (M.Math.) degree in Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Further details can be found on his website https://ryanmurphyresearch.com/

Mr Davide Moi is a Senior Research Assistant in Cancer Immunology at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Part Time PhD Student at UQDI under the supervision of Prof Riccardo Dolcetti and co-supervision of Prof Nikolas Haass. Davide’s PhD project aims to Exploit Immunogenic Cell Death and Proteasome Inhibition to Improve Cancer Immunotherapy. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Laboratory Techniques (Milan, Italy), Davide first worked as Customer Service Technical Specialist (ABBOTT, Italy) and then joined the laboratory of Prof Luigi Naldini, at the Telethon Institute of Gene Therapy (Milano, Italy). There, under the supervision of Dr Michele DePalma and Dr Roberta Mazzieri he worked on the development of gene therapy approaches to reverse tumour immune suppression in solid tumours. At the Diamantina Institute from 2012 until 2020, Davide worked in Dr Mazzieri’s group and Prof Nikolas Haass group where he contributed to many projects aimed at improving tumour immunotherapies with his experience in in-vivo work, surgery and flow cytometry. For more information about Davide’s work and publications visit his ORCID at https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1198-5146. 

9:30am-10:30am 

Zoom only

Wed 25 May Dr Stephen Cose

'Life and Death in Uganda: Immunity (or not) to Tuberculosis'

Dr Stephen Cose obtained his PhD in Melbourne, Australia, studying the T cell response to HSV infection in mice. In 2005, following several postdocotoral studies in the UK and USA on T cell memory and migration, he took a lectureship at the University of Bristol where he continued his research on T and B cell migration. In 2009 he took a post as Lecturer in Immunology at the LSHTM, permanently seconded to Uganda. He now lives in Entebbe, Uganda and is a Senior Immunologist at the MRC Unit here, and also has an Honorary Senior Lectureship at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences.

3:00pm-4:00pm 

Zoom only

Wed 18 May Dr Yousuf Mohammed

'Development and regulation of topical dermatological products'

Dr Yousuf Mohammed completed has a PhD in pharmaceutics and skin drug delivery. He has been working within the field of skin delivery and regulatory sciences at the Therapeutics Research Group, University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Faculty of Medicine since 2012. He currently leads multiple US FDA funded projects which aim to improve regulatory guidelines for topical and transdermal products. Over the last 10 years, his work has focused on skin penetration and skin toxicology of drugs and xenobiotics including nanoparticulate material and skin product regulatory science.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 11 May

Dr Chenhao Zhou

Dr Laura Sormani

'Use spatial transcriptomics to study tumor predictors in patients with early invasive melanoma'

'Atherogenic oxidized LDL induces the loss of progenitor function and requires SOX9 for endothelial to mesenchymal transition.'

Dr. Chenhao Zhou obtained his PhD in Prof. Ian Frazer lab at UQDI and developed expertise in using scRNA-seq and bioinformatics analyses as a tool to study the adaptive immune response to HPV. Specifically, his PhD studies provided new insights into the in vivo phenotypic heterogeneity and TCR diversity of skin-resident Tregs in homeostasis and in a hyperproliferative premalignant epithelium. Dr. Chenhao Zhou is currently undertaking post-doctoral training in Prof. Kiarash Khosrotehrani lab at UQDI where he is focusing on using advanced technological approaches such as spatial transcriptomics and highly multiplexed imaging to investigate the tumor microenvironment to predict survival in patients diagnosed with locally invasive cutaneous melanoma.

Dr Laura Sormani completed her PhD in 2019 at the Mediterranean Centre for Molecular Medicine (C3M, Côte d’Azur University, Nice, France) under the supervision of Professor Thierry Passeron, a world leading expert in skin pigmentation. During her PhD, through transcriptional analyses of melanocytes from healthy skin versus vitiligo, a debilitating depigmenting skin condition, She discovered, patented and characterized a novel melanocytic gene CLEC12B. She demonstrated that CLEC12B, a c type lectin receptor, plays a key role not only in skin pigmentation but also in melanoma genesis, thereby exerting functions beyond immunity and inflammation. 

Dr Laura Sormani has joined the Experimental Dermatology Group of Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow to study the contribution of endothelial progenitors to melanoma vascularisation and fibrotic disorders.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 4 May

Dr Aideen McInerney-Leo, UQDI

'Integrating genomics into medicine'

Dr Aideen McInerney-Leo trained as a genetic counsellor and has conducted clinical research on the impact of genetic conditions and genetic testing. She has been associate director of Johns Hopkins and acting convenor of the Griffith University master programs in Genetic Counselling. Aideen is a member of the HGSA certification committee for genetic counsellors and deputy-chair of the HGSA accreditation committee for genetic counselling MSc programs in Australasia. Her PhD was conducted at UQ and focused on gene discovery and psychosocial research. Her current research broadly encompasses the translation of genomics into clinical practice, exploring the impact on patients and their physicians alike. Her work is supported by a fellowship from the NHMRC and the UQ FOM.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 27 April

Amy Pham, PhD Student

Sarah Hickson, PhD Student

'The Role of Cloaking Antibodies in Burkholderia Cepacia Complex Lung Infections'

'Antibody-Mediated Serum Resistance in P. aeruginosa Bloodstream Infections'

Amy Pham joined Dr Timothy Wells lab in 2019 as a PhD student having completed an undergraduate research project and honours project in his lab. Her current research focuses on the interactions between the host immune system and Gram-negative bacteria during chronic lung infections. The work she will be presenting looks at understanding the prevalence and importance of, and treatment options for, Gram-negative bacteria that produce ‘cloaking antibodies’ in the context of lung infections.

Sarah Hickson graduated from the University of Queensland in 2020 with a Bachelors of Biotechnology. She completed her honours in the TWells lab and began her PhD in July 2021. She will be presenting a project that she began in her honours and have continued as a part of her PhD.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 20 April

Dr Andrew Brooks

'Growth hormone receptor signalling in melanoma progression and immune evasion'

Dr Andrew Brooks is the Group Leader of the Cytokine Receptor Signalling Group at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) within the Translational Research Institute. Andrew’s research interests are in cytokine receptors, cell signalling, oncogenesis, and immunology. His current research focus is on the molecular mechanisms of class I cytokine receptor activation including the growth hormone receptor (GHR), thrombopoietin receptor (TpoR/MPL), IL-7 receptor, and IL-6 receptor (IL-6R). In addition, he is investigating the regulation of inflammation by HLA-G.

His research has led to publications in journals including Science, Blood, Hepatology, Oncogene, Nature Cell Biology, and PNAS.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 13 April

Dr Mathias Vormehr

'mRNA based cancer vaccines'

Dr. Vormehr is an immunologist currently leading the preclinical research on mRNA therapeutics such as next-generation personalized cancer vaccines and RNA-encoded cytokines at BioNTech. He performed his diploma thesis on immunotherapy at the German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg and received a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Mainz. His work resulted in several patent applications as well as high impact publications in journals like Nature. 

4:00pm-5:00pm 

Zoom

Wed 6 April

Prof Paul Clarke

Dr Sugandha Bhatia

'Control of mitotic cell death by tumour suppressors, oncogenes and cancer chemotherapeutic drugs'

'Mitotic cell death: Underpinning the replication stress response'

Paul Clarke is Director of The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI). Paul joined UQ in 2017 from the University of Dundee in Scotland where he was Professor of Cancer Cell Biology and Associate Dean (Research) in the School of Medicine. Professor Clarke's current research interests are the molecular mechanisms of cell division, chromosome instability and mitotic cell death. He also carries out research into the cellular responses to anti-cancer drugs.

Dr Sugandha Bhatia obtained her PhD from the Queensland University of Technology in 2020 under the mentorship of Prof. Erik W Thompson in interrogating the role of the epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in cancer chemoresistance. Subsequently, she joined as a research officer in Prof. Paul Clarke’s group located within The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. Currently her research seeks to understand and delineate the mitotic cell fates and death pathway elicited using Phase II cancer chemotherapeutics Wee1 kinase inhibitor and its combination with other cytostatic drugs.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 30 March  Prof Di Yu 'Master the dimensionality of immunity '

Dr Di Yu is a Professor of Immunology at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in Brisbane, Australia. He received his PhD from Australian National University in 2007 and postdoctoral training at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research from 2008-2010. Before joining the University of Queensland, he was a faculty member at Monash University from 2011-2016 and Australian National University ANU from 2017-2019.

Professor Di Yu leads the research team to investigate the mechanisms underlying the functions of T cells in human health and disease. Through understanding T cell functional subsets, he has innovated new strategies to monitor personal immune status and modulate immune pathways to treat autoimmune diseases, infection and cancer.

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 23 March  Prof Mark Walker 'Group A Streptococcus - epidemics, therapeutics and vaccines'

Prof Mark Walker's research focuses on the mechanism by which the group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes; GAS) causes invasive disease and GAS vaccine development. S. pyogenes is the etiologic agent of numerous suppurative diseases, ranging from mild skin infections such as pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo and cellulitis, to severe invasive diseases such as septicemia, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. GAS is placed within the “top 10″ infectious disease causes of human deaths worldwide. Indigenous Australians suffer the highest rates of affliction with GAS diseases in the World. 

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 16 March  Guest speaker Dr Colm Keane (UQDI) 'Assessing Immune Response in Aggressive Lymphomas'

Dr Keane is a haematologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital and runs the Lymphoma Research Lab at the UQDI in Brisbane. His main research interest is focused on the interface between the tumour microenvironment and the malignant lymphoma cell, with a goal to build an understanding of lymphoma from an immunological and biomarkers perspective. To bridge developments between the clinic and bench-top, the laboratory has a strong emphasis on patient material, which it obtains from international and national clinical collaborators, much being from investigator-led clinical trials.  Lymphomas studied include more common lymphomas such as Hodgkin Lymphoma, Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma, Follicular Lymphoma but his lab has a particular focus on rare lymphomas such as primary central nervous system lymphoma and lymphomas that develop in patients who are immunocompromised. 

9:30am-10:30am 

TRI Auditorium or Zoom

Wed 9 March  Guest speaker Professor Ranjeny Thomas (UQDI) 'Tolerising immunotherapy in
autoimmune disease: shifting the goalpost to cure'

Professor Thomas is Professor of Rheumatology at University of Queensland, Translational Research Institute, consultant Rheumatologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital, fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and member of the Order of Australia. She founded the Uniquest spin off company Dendright. Her research seeks to understand autoimmune disease and restorat ion of immune tolerance. She developed and tested antigen specific immunotherapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis, based on dendritic cell and liposome formats in two world first proof of concept trials. Her team is partnered with CSL in Sjogren’s syndrome immunotherapy, and she is progressing an antigen specific immunotherapy for type 1 diabetes to clinical trials. She has contributed major insights into the role of the microbiome in spondyloarthropathy.

9:30am-10:30am 

Zoom

Wed 2 March 

Guest speakers:

Dr Janin Chandra  

Dr Debottam Sinha

'The Monouclear Phagocyte System: Synthesizer of Immunity and Resistance'

' Characterising the functional role  of CEP55 as a potent oncogene and a regulator of tumour evasion'

Dr. Janin Chandra received her PhD at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and joined Prof. Ian Frazer’s lab at UQDI in 2012 for postdoctoral research training, where she investigated mechanisms of immune resistance in human papillomavirus (HPV) transformed epithelium, with a special interest in the mononuclear phagocyte system. Since 2019 she leads a research program elucidating mechanisms of malfunctioning mononuclear phagocytes, with a focus on their roles in cancer progression. Her vision is to restore the functionality of these cells to increase tumour inflammation and responsiveness to T cell targeted immunotherapies.

Dr Debottam Sinha received his PhD, in the field of cancer biology from Griffith University, Australia in 2018. For the last seven and a half years, he has been based at QIMR, wherein he finished his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Kum Kum Khanna and later on joined Prof. Rajiv Khanna’s laboratory in 2018. Very recently, he has moved to TRI to join Prof. Ian Frazer’s laboratory wherein he will be studying the mechanism of adaptive resistance initiated by solid cancers to overcome immunotherapy. His vision is to repurpose the use of small molecule inhibitors to enhance the effect of immunotherapy by overcoming cell-intrinsic signalling and in turn modulating the immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom 

2021 Events

Date Presenter Seminar Title Speaker Bio Location and Time
Wed 9 November  Guest speaker Professor Mark Shackleton from Monash University Studies in melanocyte and melanoma heterogeneity Professor Mark Shackleton is the Director of Oncology at Alfred Health, a Professor of Oncology at Monash University, a Victorian Cancer Agency Clinical Research Fellow and Chair of Melanoma and Skin Cancer Trials Inc. After training in medical oncology and at the Ludwig Institute in Melbourne, he undertook PhD studies at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan, USA. He has received several major prizes for his research: the 2006 Victorian Premier’s Award for Medical Research, a 2010 NHMRC Achievement Award, a 2011 Pfizer Australia Fellowship, and a 2016 Victorian Cancer Agency Clinical Research Fellowship. In 2012, he was awarded the Australian Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year. 

9:30am-10:30am 

Zoom

Wed 22 September  Guest speaker Professor Lucy Walker from UCL, UK Lucy will be presenting 'CTLA-4 mediated control of follicular helper T cells and autoimmunity'

Lucy Walker is Professor of Immune Regulation at the Institute for Immunity & Transplantation at University College London. She has a longstanding interest in immune regulation with a particular focus on how costimulatory pathways set T cell activation thresholds.  Lucy received a Wellcome Trust International Prize Travelling Fellowship to train in Prof Abul Abbas's group at UCSF before returning to the UK supported by a Career Development Award and subsequently a Senior Non-Clinical Fellowship from the Medical Research Council.

Her work uses both mouse models and patient samples with the aim of understanding immune regulatory mechanisms in autoimmunity, with particular focus on Type 1 Diabetes. Key areas of interest include the biology of CTLA-4 and its function in regulatory T cells as well as T help for B cell antibody production. She received a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2015 and an EFIS Lecture Award in 2016

3:30pm-4:30pm

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom 

Wed 15 September 

Dr Carmen Mathmann and Dr Tom Schultz from the Blumenthal Lab at UQDI 

Dr Mathmann will be presenting 'Spatio-temporal regulation of the innate immune receptor RP105 in macrophages'.


Dr Schultz will be presenting 'Molecular regulators of macrophage activation during gram-negative bacterial infection'.

Dr Carmen Mathmann is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) Infection and Inflammation Group. She applies her research training in cell biology and quantitative cell imaging to understand how the functions of innate immune receptors are regulated by directed subcellular positioning.


Dr Tom Schultz completed his honours under the supervision of A/Prof Fiona Simpson and was awarded the UQDI Honours scholarship during his honours year in 2018. He is currently a 2nd year PhD student working on immune-oncology combination therapies in diseases like melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and rare diseases like adenoid cystic carcinoma. His research interest is in cellular trafficking of targeted therapies and how we can potentially manipulate cellular trafficking of receptors to improve targeted therapies.

9:30am-10:30am

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom 

Wed 2 June Dr Tommi Vatanen from the University of Auckland Gut bacteria, phages and their impact in life-long health Tommi Vatanen is a Senior Research Fellow at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland. He holds a PhD in computational biology from Aalto University, Finland. Dr Vatanen is a gut microbiome researcher with specific interests in infant gut microbiomes and fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). He is currently investigating mother-to-infant bacteriophage transmission and the role of bacteriophages in FMT. He also leads the collection of gut microbial strains from New Zealand populations for global comparative research as part of Global Microbiome Conservancy initiative.

9:30-10:30am,

via Zoom

Wed 26 May Professor Andrew Barbour from UQDI A picture is worth 1000 genes: novel radiomics biomarkers of the tumour micro environment Professor Barbour is a translational researcher at UQDI. He is the head of Surgical Oncology Lab at the School of Medicine. His research has focused on using genomic, epigenomic, mRNA expression and next generation sequencing data to classify oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC), pancreatic cancer and melanoma and to identify biomarkers of outcome. His lab team was the first to identify genomic catastrophes as potential drivers for oesophageal adenocarcinoma. In addition, his lab is seeking to identify genetic markers in melanoma that will identify patients at high risk for recurrence following surgery and to identify patients who will benefit from the current exciting advances in treatment for advanced melanoma. His lab is currently undertaking studies using next generation sequencing of tumour and circulating tumour DNA. Professor Barbour is the Chief Investigator for the Cancer Evolution Biobank based at the Translational Research Institute. This biobank contains tumour tissue and blood from patients with melanoma, oesophageal or gastric cancer linked to clinical outcomes and supports several research projects.

9:30-10:30am,

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom

Wed 19 May Dr Chris Slape from UQDI Cell competition in leukaemia Chris Slape is an expert in the use of mouse models to study human haematological diseases and haematopoietic stem cell phenotypes. In particular, he developed and characterised the first model of myelodysplasia, the NUP98-HOXD13 transgenic mouse. He completed his PhD studies at The University of Adelaide in 2003. He performed postdoctoral work at: the National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, USA); the Bone Marrow Research Laboratories (Royal Melbourne Hospital); and Monash University (Melbourne). Most recently, he established his research group at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, where he focuses on cell-intrinsic and extrinsic self-renewal mechanisms in normal and abnormal haematopoietic stem cells.

9:30-10:30am,

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom

Wed 12 May Associate Professor Mathias Francois from Centenary Institute From developmental transcription factors to cancer therapeutics: An endothelial-targeted molecular strategy to improve the management of vascular neoplasms.  Associate Professor Francois, heads the David Richmond Laboratory for Cardiovascular Development: Gene Regulation and Editing at the Centenary Institute. He leads a research team with a focus on identifying new and innovative therapeutic approaches targeting vascular disease. His research focuses on the transcriptional control of endothelial cell specification with a major discovery identified a role for Sox18 transcription factor as a molecular switch that controls lymphatic vessel development (lymphangiogenesis) in the embryo and also during cancer metastasis. Based on this finding, he has developed a novel approach combining developmental genetics, tumour biology and drug discovery to target transcription factors with small molecule inhibitors, peptide mimetic and antibodies with the aim of discovering a new class of anti-angiogenic drugs.

9:30-10:30am

via Zoom

Wed 5 May Dr Kirsty Short from SCMB SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis: what do we know and what do we have to learn Dr Kirsty Short is an ARC DECRA research fellow and head of the viral pathogenesis lab at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland. Dr Short and her group focus on the pathogenesis of emerging viral infections and the role of chronic metabolic conditions (namely diabetes and obesity) in severe viral infections. Their group works on both influenza A virus and SARS-CoV-2 with a particular focus on the development of novel therapies and the role of children in viral transmission.

9:30-10:30am,

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom

Wed 28 April Professor Oded Rechavi from Tel Aviv University. Heritable memories

Professor Oded Rechavi’s mission is to challenge fundamental long-held scientific dogmas. He found an exception to the original “Cell Theory”, provided direct evidence that an acquired trait can be inherited in nematodes, worked to elucidate an alternative transgenerational inheritance mechanism (that depends on inherited small RNA molecules, not DNA molecules), discovered a mechanism that allows nematodes’ brains to control the behaviour of their progeny, utilized genome sequencing of ancient DNA to “piece together” fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered a neuronal circuit-level mechanism that explains economic irrationality, and demonstrated that parasites can be genetically engineered to deliver drugs to the nervous system. 

Professor Rechavi is an ERC Fellow, and was awarded many prestigious prizes, including the Polymath prize (Schmidt Futures), the Kadar award, the Blavatnik award, the Krill Wolf award, the Alon, and F.I.R.S.T (Bikura) Prizes, and the Gross Lipper Fellowship. Professor Rechavi was selected as one of the “10 Most Creative People in Israel Under 40”, and one of the “40 Most Promising People in Israel Under 40”.

3:00-4:00pm

via Zoom 

Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wed 21 April Professor Sherene Loi from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Journey into breast cancer immunology using genomics Sherene Loi MD, PhD, is a clinician scientist and medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of breast cancer. She also leads a lab that focuses on understanding the genomic and immune interface in breast cancer with the aim to investigate and develop novel therapeutics in the preclinical space. Clinically her current research focus is the evaluation of novel and rational combinations of targeted and immune therapies for breast cancer patients. She leads the Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her medical oncology training in Melbourne, Australia. She worked in Brussels, at the Breast International Group clinical trials headquarters before returning to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne in 2013. She also holds an Endowed Chair from the National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia.

9:30am - 10:30am

TRI Auditorium and Zoom.

Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Mon 19 April Dr Steven Suchting, Investment Director, Life Science, IP Group  How investors approach therapeutic opportunities Venture investors IP Group have entered into a unique partnership with the University of Queensland to help researchers to turn exceptional ideas into world-changing businesses. Dr Steven Suchting for the IP Group Life Science team will discuss the specific challenges with therapeutic opportunities and how they assess new technologies and make investment decisions.  He will share recent case-studies from their Australian portfolio to illustrate what made these opportunities investible.

2:00-3:00pm

TRI Room 2003


Register now to [email protected]

Wed 14 April Prof Brandon Wainwright from UQDI Diseases of the cerebellum - new paradigms for treatment of cancer and neurodegeneration Professor Brandon Wainwright is a geneticist with a focus on using the tools of developmental and cell biology to understand then develop treatments for diseases of the cerebellum with a focus on paediatric brain cancer, and more recently, paediatric neurodegenerative conditions.  Brandon has been a Research Group Leader and Co-Director of the Children’s Brain Cancer Centre at UQDI since 2020. Previously, he was Director of UQ IMB for 14 years.

9:30am - 10:30am

TRI Auditorium and Zoom.

Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wed 31 March Dr Jeff Barrett from the Sanger Institute, UK Comprehensive genomic surveillance of Covid-19 in the UK Jeff Barrett leads the Sanger Institute's Covid-19 genomic surveillance programme. We sequence and analyse samples from positive tests around the UK in near real time in order to help guide public health response to local outbreaks. Prior to that Jeff studied the genetic basis of human diseases in both industry and academia. Most recently he was Chief Scientific Officer at Genomics plc, and before that Director of Open Targets, a public-private initiative to use human genetics to improve early stage drug discovery. He was a group leader at the Sanger Institute for ten years, where he focused on the genetics of inflammatory and neurodevelopmental diseases. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

3:00pm - 4:00pm

TRI Auditorium and Zoom.

Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wed 24 March Professor Ian Frazer  Immunotherapy for HPV associated cancer – what have we learnt? Professor Ian Frazer is a clinician scientist, trained as a clinical immunologist in Scotland. As a professor at the University of Queensland, he leads a research group working at TRI in Brisbane, Australia on the immunobiology of epithelial cancers.  He is recognised as co-inventor of the technology enabling the HPV vaccines, currently used worldwide to help prevent cervical cancer. He heads a biotechnology company, Jingang Medicine (Aus) Pty Ltd, working on new vaccine technologies, and is a board member of several companies and not for profit organisations. He was the inaugural president of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and a member of the Australian National Science and Technology Council. He chairs the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board of the Medical Research Future Fund. 

9:30-10:30am

TRI Auditorium and Zoom.

Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Thurs 18 March Dr Steven Suchting, Investment Director, Life Science, IP Group (international venture capital firm) How investors approach therapeutic opportunities Venture investors IP Group have entered into a unique partnership with the University of Queensland to help researchers to turn exceptional ideas into world-changing businesses. Dr Steven Suchting for the IP Group Life Science team will discuss the specific challenges with therapeutic opportunities and how they assess new technologies and make investment decisions.  He will share recent case-studies from their Australian portfolio to illustrate what made these opportunities investible. 

11:00am- 12:30pm

Zoom only.

Register by 15 March to [email protected] 

Wed 17 March

Dr Zhian Chen

Dr Joseph Yunis

"A novel mechanism to direct germinal centre B cells for antibody-secreting cell differentiation" presented by Dr Zhian Chen

"High levels of soluble CD25 in COVID-19 severity suggests a divergence between anti-viral and pro-inflammatory T cell responses" presented by Dr Joseph Yunis

Dr Zhian Chen obtained his PhD degree from the Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), Monash University in 2017. In his PhD research, he examined the mechanistic insights into the modulation of cytokine function and identified a new structural mechanism controlling interleukin-21 (IL-21) activity. He started his postdoctoral research in Professor Di Yu’s lab since 2018 in John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR), Australian National University and moved to UQ Diamantina Institute with the lab in 2020. His current research focuses on revealing novel mechanisms modulating T follicular helper cell (TFH) mediated antibody responses and developing new strategies for immunotherapies.

Dr Joseph Yunis obtained his PhD from the University of Queensland under the mentorship of Associate Professor Philip Stevenson at the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences on understanding the role of CD4+ T cells in herpesvirus immunity. He uncovered the immune evasion mechanisms of CD4+ T cells by cytomegaloviruses. Subsequently, he chose to conduct a postdoctoral research training with Professor Di Yu, first at the John Curtin School of Medical Research of Australian National University (Canberra) and then moved to UQ Diamantina Institute with the lab. Primarily using various mouse models, he is investigating the role of CD8+ T cells in elimination infection and driving immunopathology, such as promoting acute respiratory distress syndrome.

9:30-10:30am

TRI Auditorium and Zoom.
Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wed 10 March Dr Timothy Wells Impact, mechanisms and treatment of antibodies that enhance bacterial infection. Dr Timothy Wells joined the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in 2016 as a Senior Research Fellow. His research focuses on the interactions between the host immune system and Gram negative bacteria during chronic lung infection, with a specific emphasis on Pseudomonas aeruginosa in chronic lung infections. His research uses a mixture of molecular microbiology, immunology and genomic approaches and has directly led to novel treatment of critically ill patients with multi-drug resistant bacteria.

9:30-10:30am

Zoom only.
Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wed 3 March

Assistant Professor Anna Vilgelm

Vanderbilt

Modulating tumour secretome to improve anti-tumour immunity and therapeutic responses.

A/Professor Anna Vilgelm is a cancer biologist with experience in basic and translational studies. The main focus of A/Professor Vilgelm's research is on pre-clinical development of effective strategies for metastatic cancer treatment. Currently, Vilgelm laboratory investigates ways to stimulate anti-tumour immunity and augment immunotherapy responses by inducing “hot”, immune-cell enriched, tumour microenvironment. In addition, A/Professor Vilgelm’s group is working with a variety of pre-clinical models including 3D organoid cultures of patient's tumour cells, patient-derived xenografts, immunocompetent and humanised models. 

9:30-10:30am

Zoom only.
Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wed 24 Feb

Gustavo Rossi and Timothy McCulloch

Guimaraes Lab at UQDI

Understanding cancer and engineering NK cells for personalised immune-cellular therapeutics.

Understanding immunosuppression, and development of immunotherapeutic interventions for persistent bacterial infections.

Gustavo’s Bio:

I completed my PhD in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the Federal University of Parana (UFPR – Curitiba, Brazil). My PhD research focused on developing new treatments based on chemically modified heparins for preventing melanoma metastatic spread in different experimental models. My projects now take advantage of multi-disciplinary approaches combining cutting edge molecular/immune/stem cell biology and systems biology to build on and create innovative solutions for complex clinical challenges.

Timothy’s Bio:

I graduated from the University of Otago in New Zealand in 2014 with a BSc with Honours and MSc majoring in Immunology. I then moved to Melbourne (2014 to 2019) to work as a Flow Cytometry technician at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, where I acquired extensive experience in complex FACS sorting and multi-parametric analysis in multiple flow cytometry platforms. At the end of 2019, I moved to UQDI’s Translational Innate Immunotherapy Laboratory (TI2, headed by Dr. Fernando Guimaraes) to begin my PhD, where we take advantage in the parallels between cancer and infection-mediated immunosuppression. Specifically, I focus in discovering new potential immunotherapeutic interventions to treat persistent bacterial infections.

9:30-10:30am

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom.
Email Jessica Iannotti for the Zoom password.

Wed 17 Feb

Dr Andrew Harvey

UniQuest

How QEDDI can help you progress in a collaborative drug discovery program. The Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI), a business unit of UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest, is dedicated to small molecule drug discovery and development capability. It has core capabilities and expertise in medicinal chemistry, compound screening, discovery biology and preclinical drug development. QEDDI’s experts, recruited from industry, collaborate with academic partners to translate innovative biology research in to new drug candidates addressing serious unmet need for commercialisation. 

9:30-10:30am

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom.
Email Jessica Iannotti for the Zoom password.

2020 Events

Date Presenter Seminar Title Speaker Bio Location and Time

Wednesday 25 November

Professor John Upham and PhD Student Lisa Jurak 

"Airway inflammation in asthma" presented by Professor John Upham

"Using proteomics to understand and prevent asthma exacerbations with macrolide antibiotics" presented by Lisa Jurak

John Upham is a respiratory physician and clinician scientist who thinks a lot about immune dysfunction in lung diseases.
After clinical training in Brisbane, John completed a PhD with the University of Western Australia followed by a post-doc fellowship at McMaster University in Canada. He returned to Brisbane in 2007 and holds appointments with Princess Alexandra Hospital and the University of Queensland. He was appointed Chair of Metro South Research in 2019. His research interests include understanding the immune system in asthma, why people with chronic lung diseases are prone to virus infections, and developing targeted therapies for severe asthma. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his five grandchildren, cycling and pottering in the veggie patch.

9:30-10:30am,

Zoom only.
Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wednesday 18 November

Associate Professor Raymond Steptoe

"Climbing the stairway to gene-therapy induced tolerance"

Associate Professor Steptoe undertook his undergraduate training in the Anatomy and Human Biology Department at the University of Western Australia.  He completed his PhD in the laboratory of Prof. Pat Holt in Perth studying dendritic cells in the eye.  From there he spent two years at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He then returned to Australia and spent six years in the Autoimmunity and Transplantation Division at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute.  In early 2004 he moved to Brisbane to take up a Research Fellow position at the UQ Diamantina Institute.  A/Prof Steptoe now heads a research group exploring the mechanisms of immune tolerance induction.  A major focus is exploration of the use of hematopoietic stem cell mediated gene therapy as tool for induction of immune tolerance to ‘turn-off’ detrimental immune responses.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Special NAIDOC Week Presentation:

Thursday 12 November

Professor Patrick Nunn

Original histories: Indigenous memories of ancient disasters and their future implications

Patrick Nunn is Professor of Geography at the University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland).  Much of his research career has focused on environmental change and its impacts in the Pacific Basin including eastern Australia.  This work has seen the publication of several books and more than 310 peer-reviewed publications.  Another of Patrick’s research interests focuses on ancient understandings of coastal-environmental change and how these have been culturally filtered and encoded in narrative and myth.  More details at www.patricknunn.org

12:00 -1:00pm

TRI Auditorium and via Zoom.
Email Jessica Iannotti for the Zoom password.

Wednesday 11 November

Professor Ranjeny Thomas

Pascale Wehr 

"Bystander immunity, autoimmunity and application to immunotherapy"

: Professor Thomas is Professor of Rheumatology at University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, consultant rheumatologist at Princess Alexandra Hospital, fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. She founded the Uniquest spin-off company Dendright. In the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours, she was awarded member of the Order of Australia. Her research seeks to understand autoimmune disease and restoration of immune tolerance. Through this work, she developed dendritic cell-based antigen-specific immunotherapy in the first proof-of-concept trial in Rheumatoid Arthritis. She developed a liposome immunotherapy that targets dendritic cells to induce antigen-specific tolerance. The product, DEN181, was developed by Dendright, in partnership with Janssen-Biotech, the US pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, and tested in a phase 1b clinical trial in RA. Her team recently partnered with CSL to develop immunotherapy for Sjogren’s syndrome. 

Pascale Wehr is a PhD student with Professor Ranjeny Thomas at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. In 2017, she received a Bachelor of Science in Immunology (Honours) from UQ. Her research interests focus on characterising the T cell receptor repertoire in mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis and also in human RA patient samples for their potential as biomarkers or therapeutic targets

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wednesday 4 November

Dr Mathew Jones 

Enaam Alghamdi 

"Applying chemical genetics and nanopore sequencing to understand DNA replication and repair" presented by Dr Mathew Jones

"The role of the cGAS pathway in determining cell fate following disruption of mitosis" presented by Enaam Alghamdi 

Dr Jones completed a PhD in 2010 in the Signal Transduction laboratory at QIMR before moving to New York University for postdoctoral research on the role of the Fanconi Anemia pathway in DNA replication and repair with Professor Tony Huang. In 2011, Dr Jones moved to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to develop chemical genetic techniques to study DNA replication and repair with Professor Prasad Jallepalli. In May 2019 he joined UQDI and is developing long-read DNA sequencing techniques, to study how DNA replication is dysregulated in cancer cells. 

Enaam graduated from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia in 2009 with a Bachelor of Applied Medical Sciences. She moved to Canada to study her Master’s in Dr Yan Shi’s lab at The University of Calgary. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in 2014. After her studies, she worked as a lecturer in Immunology and Microbiology. She then moved to Oman where she worked as a clinical laboratory specialist. In 2019, she started her PhD in Professor Paul Clarke’s Lab at the University of Queensland, Diamantina Institute to study cancer cell biology.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Jing Jie Teh and James Volmer

"Novel ex-vivo combination of microbe culture and metagenomic sequencing (MC-MGS) for functional characterisation of the Crohn’s disease mucosa-associated microbiota." Presented by Jing Jie Teh

"Genomic and culture-based analyses of human methanogenic archaea: implications for gastrointestinal health and disease" Presented by James Volmer

Jing Jie Teh is a 2nd year PhD student at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute with Professor Mark Morrison’s research group. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology (Honours) from UQ in 2017. His research interests involve applying culture-based, molecular and bioinformatic techniques to establish the structure and function of the gut microbiota in health and disease. He is a key member of the Eastern Inflammatory Bowel Disease Gut Microbiota (ENIGMA) project team, supported by the Helmsley Charitable Trust via the Australasian Gastrointestinal Research Foundation.

James Volmer is a 3rd year PhD student with Professor Mark Morrison’s research group at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. In 2017, he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology (Honours) from UQ. His research interests focus on genomic- and culture-based analyses of methanogenic archaea, an often-overlooked member of the human microbiota, to characterise their role in gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. Additionally, he also works to better define the archaea-host relationship with the support of Meat and Livestock Australia. 

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wednesday 30 September 2020

Associate Professor Graham Leggatt and Quentin Wright

"From parasites to cancer: a career centred on immunology "

"Evaluation of intradermally delivered immunotherapeutic antibodies in a mouse cutaneous tumour model"

Dr Leggatt completed a PhD in 1993 at QIMR investigating the serodiagnosis of hydatid disease before moving to the NIH (USA) for postdoctoral research on CD8 T cell recognition of viral peptides.   Upon returning to Australia, he has worked for many years with Prof. Ian Frazer on immunotherapy of HPV-mediated cervical cancer.  In recent years, he has been a senior lecturer in immunology at the University of Queensland and conducted research into the development and regulation of T cells residing in precancerous skin.

Quentin graduated from the National University of Ireland in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science. He moved to the United States and was a visiting scholar in Dr. Carol Warner’s lab at Northeastern University, studying the contribution of the Ped gene to embryonic development in mice. He then transitioned to Industry, first working on the IRAK4 program at Pfizer, Sirtuin inhibitors and Ghrelin antagonists at Elixir pharmaceuticals, and HDAC inhibitors at GSK.  After leaving GSK, Quentin worked with colleagues at Verastem inc to help bring, Copiktra, a dual PI3K delta/gamma inhibitor to market for patients with Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia / small lymphocytic lymphoma. Quentin Later worked at Moderna Inc, Atlas Ventures and Immunext, and graduated with a Master’s degree from Harvard University in 2017. 

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wednesday 23 September 2020 Hanumanth Srikanth Cheruvu and Dr Zeng (Frank) Guo  

"Modelling approaches to predict human skin absorption of drugs and other chemicals" Presented by Hanumanth Srikanth Cheruvu

"Histopathological, biochemical and genetic characterisation of different types of primary aldosteronism, including validation of a new angiotensin assay" Presented by Dr Zeng (Frank) Guo

Hanumanth Srikanth Cheruvu is a Ph.D. student in the Therapeutics Research Centre group at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. He completed his Master’s degree in Pharmaceutics in 2012 from NIPER-Hyderabad (India). He has five years of experience working in Pharma, Biotech and in drug discovery CRO’s working in disciplines of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK), formulation technology, drug delivery, and bioanalysis. Currently, his research focus is on various modelling approaches for predicting the human skin absorption of drugs and other chemicals based on in silico and in vitro techniques.

Zeng (Frank) Guo graduated from the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute and obtained his PhD degree in July 2020. As followed with Prof Michael Stowasser and Dr Martin Wolley, his research directions are to explore the characterisation of different types of primary aldosteronism and to validate the effectiveness of a novel angiotensin assay on hypertensive patients in different clinical scenarios.

9:30am-10:30am

Auditorium and Zoom. Contact [email protected] for seminar link.

Wednesday 16 September 2020 Professor Louise Purton, St Vincent’s Institute. 'Key roles of Hoxa1 in HSCs and myelodysplatisc sydndromes.'

Professor Louise Purton received her PhD from The University of Melbourne in 1995 and undertook post-doctoral studies at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. She returned to Australia at the end of 2000 to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Prof Purton continued this research while she was a visiting scientist in Professor David Scadden’s laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, 2004-2007. Louise returned to Melbourne in 2008 to establish and head the Stem Cell Regulation Unit at St. Vincent’s Institute. She was an Associate Director there from 2010, voluntarily resigning from this position in 2019. She is continuing her research on how haematopoiesis is regulated both intrinsically and extrinsically in normal and diseased states. Louise has a passion for translational research and to date her senior author research has resulted in four clinical trials.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Monday 14 September 2020 A/Prof Jessica Mar, AIBN 'One of these cells is not like the other – how variability of gene expression highlights regulatory control.'

Associate Professor Jessica Mar's research group focuses on the development of bioinformatics methods to understand how regulatory processes go awry in human diseases. Specifically, the groups is interested in modelling how variability of gene expression contributes to regulation of the transcriptome. The group looks to modern tools in statistics, such as Bayesian methodologies and machine learning algorithms, to make sense of biology from big data.

12:00pm-1:30pm

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 9 September 2020 Dr Giorgia Mori and Rachel Rollo 'Characterisation of a novel antimicrobial lead against Mycobacterium tuberculosis'

Dr. Giorgia Mori is a Molecular Microbiologist passionate about finding solutions that help address the global health emergency posed by tuberculosis (TB). Her work focuses on the characterization of new TB drug leads, in order to overcome the major limitations associated with the currently available TB treatments. In 2019, she relocated from Italy to Australia, to take up the opportunity to drive the pre-clinical characterization of a highly promising novel TB drug lead in an internationally funded program at the University of Queensland (UQ, A/Prof. Antje Blumenthal's lab) that brings together a multi-disciplinary international team of microbiologists, immunologists and chemists.

Rachel Rollo is a PhD student in the Blumenthal lab at the Diamantina Institute, The University of Queensland. Rachel's research is characterising new antimicrobials for the treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She has general interests in the fields of microbiology and immunology, and has previously worked on host-pathogen interactions in Listeria monocytogenes and macrophages, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and "inhibitory" antibodies.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 2 September 2020 Prof Sarah-Jane Dawson 'Blood worth bottling: Circulating tumour DNA in cancer'

Professor Sarah-Jane Dawson is a clinician-scientist. Following postdoctoral studies at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, she returned to Melbourne in 2014 to head the Molecular Biomarkers and Translational Genomics Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She also holds a joint appointment with the Centre of Cancer Research at The University of Melbourne (since 2016) and currently holds a CSL Centenary Fellowship (2018-2022). Her current research interests are focused on the development of non-invasive blood-based biomarkers ('liquid biopsies') for clinical application, including early detection, risk stratification and disease monitoring in cancer management.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 26 August 2020 Michelle Wykes  Long Road to Licensing'

Michelle Wykes is Group Leader of the Molecular Immunology Laboratory at the QIMR Berghofer. Her group first showed Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 (both expressed on dendritic cells) were primary drivers of chronic and severe malaria. Her group then published a paradigm–shifting study, which showed PD-L2 has a regulatory role in mediating immunity. They showed PD-L2 is crucial for establishing effective CD4+ Th1 immunity and designed a novel form of soluble PD-L2, which cures malaria and protects against re-infection, 150 days after the original infection. This line of research, published in Immunity, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Nature Reviews Immunology, has led to several patents, funding to develop two novel treatments for cancer and one for inflammatory diseases and a recent deal with Pharma.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 19 August 2020 Guest Speakers Dr Nicolas Jacquelot and Dr Michael Chopin 

"Deciphering Innate Lymphoid Cell Function in Melanoma Immunity" presented by Dr Nicolas Jacquelot 

"Molecular Insights into the First Line of Defence" presented by Dr Michael Chopin

Nicolas Jacquelot’s Bio: In 2017, Dr Nicolas Jacquelot joined Professor Gabrielle Belz’s group at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, aiming to decipher the role and function of the recently discovered innate lymphoid cells in cancer, particularly in melanoma. Dr Jacquelot’s research focused on the identification of predictive and prognostic immunological markers influencing patient clinical outcomes and responses to treatment as well as on the identification of resistance mechanisms to immune checkpoint blockers.

Michael Chopin’s Bio: Dr Michael Chopin’s research currently focuses on three complementary areas: 1) The definition of the molecular pathways controlling myeloid cell ontogeny, 2) The development of new methodologies to increase DC yield for therapeutic benefit, 3) The identification of novel regulator of myeloid effector functions by performing whole genome CRISPR/Cas9 screens in vivo.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 5 August Prof Riccardo Dolcetti and Dr Bijun Zeng  Is there a role for cancer vaccine in the immune checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T era?

Prof. Riccardo Dolcetti is a clinician scientist with MD specializations in Oncology and Clinical Immunology with >20 y research experience in cancer cell biology and immunology. His main scientific background and expertise are in the areas of tumour immunology and cancer immunotherapy. The major contributions of his research over the last 5 years are: development of “off-the-shelf” idiotypic vaccines for B-cell lymphomas (PCT/IB2008/001936); development of a therapeutic antibody (PCT/EP2016/076691) and an innovative adoptive immunotherapy protocol for the treatment of EBV-driven malignancies; identification of immunological correlates of the induction of pathological complete response in breast cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant immuno-chemotherapy; co-development of a nanoemulsion-based vaccination platform delivering antigens to cross-presenting dendritic cells in vivo. 

Bijun is currently a Senior Research Officer in Professor Riccardo Dolcetti’s group where she is actively characterising TNE-based cancer vaccines exploiting different antigen formulations, with particular focus on their ability to overcome immune-resistance mechanisms. She has also developed a pipeline to functionally validate the immunogenicity of candidate (neo-)antigen epitopes as well as advanced assays to monitor polyfunctional T cell responses to tumour antigens in both mouse models and cancer patients.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 29 July A/Dr James Wells and Jenny Zeng  Developing novel treatments to combat cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

Dr James Wells received his PhD from King’s College London and undertook postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. He now leads the Skin Cancer Immunotherapy Group at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. His main research interest lies in understanding the role of T cells in the recognition and control of squamous cell carcinoma in the skin, and how they can be exploited to control SCC lesions in patients with extensive disease. He has recently developed and patented a drug to reduce the skin cancer incidence in immune-suppressed organ transplant recipients, which he is presently developing for testing in clinical trials. 

Zhen Zeng joined the Wells Lab at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in 2017 for PhD program training. Her project focuses on investigating the role of CD8+ T-cells in the regression of squamous cell carcinoma.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 22 July A/Prof Rick Strum and Dr Mitchell Stark

'4-decade odyssey in scientific research: from genes to dermatology' presented by A/Prof Rick Sturm

'Mutational signatures in benign neoplasms of the skin' presented by Dr Mitchell Stark 

Rick Sturm’s Bio: A/Prof Sturm trained as a molecular biologist and has been an active research scientist for 40 years. His research focus is the biology of the melanocyte cell and pigmentation genetics in relation to human skin cancer, skin UV-sensitivity, freckling, iris colour and naevi (mole) formation.  Landmark publications from his laboratory have described the genetic association between human MC1R gene variant alleles (the gene for red hair), skin type, tanning and UV repair, and the cellular and biochemical properties of the variant forms of the MC1R receptor.  More recently he has examined the genes underlying the type and number of naevi, and the interaction of MC1R genotype and total body naevi in the risk of melanoma in the Queensland population.

Mitchell Stark’s Bio: Dr Stark is currently a University of Queensland (UQ) Amplify Research Fellow based in the Dermatology Research Centre, at The UQ Diamantina Institute. He was awarded his PhD in 2015 and has been actively working in the field of melanoma and naevi genomics and biomarker development for 20+ years. His teams primary research focus is identifying early signs of melanoma progression via ‘melanoma-specific’ microRNAs as well as genomic profiling of precursor skin lesions that may be useful for clinical management of disease. He is the author of 68 scientific publications and one patent (h-index, 34).
 

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 15 July Prof H. Peter Soyer and Brigid Betz-Stablein Australian Centre of Excellence for Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis (ACEMID) and first results of the “Mind Your Moles” Study

Prof H. Peter Soyer has a dual academic/clinical role as the inaugural Chair and Director Dermatology Research Centre, The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, and as Director Princess Alexandra Hospital Dermatology Department. Professor Soyer, an academic dermatologist from Austria, is a world leader in the field of dermatology with particular expertise in dermato oncology and dermatologic imaging. His research group’s main focus is skin cancer, both melanoma and keratinocyte skin cancer. He has an extensive publication record with over 500 publications (>135 publications in the last 5 years), over 700 citations a year and a Hirsch index of 52 (Researcher ID). He initiated establishment and is Co-leader of the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer (ASSC) Research Centre.

Brigid Betz-Stablein is an early career research fellow with the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for the study of Naevi. She has dual appointments with the Dermatology Research Centre, The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Dr Betz-Stablein is biostatistician with a strength for working with interdisciplinary groups. Currently her research involves the application of statistical and machine learning methods to dermatology images with the goal of improving the early detection of skin cancer. She has received competitive grant funding, has multiple international collaborations and an accelerating publication record. Additionally, Dr Betz-Stablein is recognized as an AStat Accredited Statistician with the Statistical Society of Australia.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 8 July Dr Abate Bashaw and Joachim Torrano

"HPV16 E7-induced epithelial hyperplasia impairs cell-mediated immune responses through regulatory T cells" presented by Dr Abate Bashaw 

"The role of SETDB1/2-mediated H3K9me3 in drug-tolerant cancer" presented by Joachim Torrano

Dr Bashaw recently completed his PhD at the University of Queensland Diamantina Insitute. Currently, he is working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Biomedical Science at the University of Queensland. 

Joachim Torrano is a trained molecular biologist, with expertise in chromatin immunoprecipitation and a background in melanoma research. Joachim completed a BBiomedSc majoring in the Molecular Basis of Health and Disease at the University of Otago in 2015. He was immediately successful in attaining a UQ summer scholarship, taking up a position in Associate Professor Helmut Schaider's lab at the University of Queensland's Diamantina Institute. In 2020 he completed an MPhil (Research) with UQDI and currently continues his work as a Research Assistant helping with various groups at the UQDI's Dermatology Research Centre. 

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 1 July Erin McMeniman and Christine Lee

Structural and functional characterisation of the thrombopoietin receptor and its negative regulator, LNK in myeloid malignancies presented by Christine Lee

Interplay of genetics and environment in Melanoma presented by Erin McMeniman

Dr McMeniman is a Dermatologist with an interest in clinical research, public health and teaching. She has a Master of Public Health with a dissertation project in skin diseases in indigenous children. She completed GP training and subsequently the Dermatology specialty training program.  Dr McMeniman has submitted her final PhD thesis after examiner corrections in February 2020, she studied the phenotypic and genotypic correlations in a cohort of patients with multiple primary melanoma in order to better understand what places patients at risk and to inform targeted screening to improve early detection of melanoma. 

Dr Christine was a PhD student in the Cytokine Receptor Signalling Group at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. Christine completed her BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology and Genetics in 2012 (England) and her Masters by Research in 2014 at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR), Newcastle University (England). Her research was focussing on understanding the basis of accumulation of mutation that drive acute myeloid leukaemia progression, particularly the mutator phenotype. Christine’s current research focus is on the molecular mechanism of JAK-STAT pathway regulation by the thrombopoietin receptor (TPOR) and its negative regulator, LNK. 

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 24 June Dr Janin Chandra and Chanhao Zhou Immune modulation and immunotherapy in HPC-induced malignancies 

Professor Dr. Janin Chandra joined Prof. Ian Frazer’s lab at UQDI in 2012 for postdoctoral research training. She then took on a role as Senior Scientist in the immunotherapy-developing company Admedus Vaccines Pty Ltd located at TRI, where she contributed to the translation of a therapeutic DNA vaccine for genital herpes and HPV+ cancers. Janin returned to UQDI in 2019 as research fellow, where she continues to study immunemodulation induced by HPV and identification of immunotherapy targets.

Chenhao Zhou joined the Frazer Lab – Epithelial Cancer Group in 2017 as a PhD student. His research project focuses on understanding the nature of the adaptive immune response to HPV, by studying a transgenic mouse model expressing HPV16 E7 oncoprotein on the surface of epithelial cells. In particular, he uses single-cell RNA sequencing technology to unravel the heterogeneity of CD4+ T helper and regulatory T cell responses. 

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 17 June  Dr Shannon Joseph and Priscila Oliveira de Lima Endocytosis inhibition in humans to improve responses to ADCC-Mediating antibodies

Shannon completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Queensland with her PhD completed in the laboratory of Prof Jennifer Stow at the IMB (UQ) focussing on the regulation of the intracellular trafficking of the cellular adhesion molecule E-cadherin. She returned to Ass Prof. Fiona Simpson’s laboratory as a Post-doc in 2011 where her work has focussed on the analysing the trafficking of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) family and monoclonal antibody therapy responses. Dr Joseph was awarded the PARF Innovation Award (2018-2020) to co-lead the laboratories work in improving monoclonal antibody therapies for breast cancer.

Priscila is currently undertaking her Ph.D. in A/Prof. Fiona Simpson’s lab at UQDI based at TRI. She has completed an investigator initiated contract with Merck KgaA testing the lab’s combination therapy in pre-clinical models of colorectal and renal carcinomas. Priscila has also established at TRI, in collaboration with Prof. Glen Boyle and Prof. Ben Panizza, the world's first preclinical mouse model of cutaneous SCC of the head and neck with perineural invasion. The aim of her current project is to humanise the NSG mouse model to allow preclinical testing of monoclonal antibody therapies for perineural invasion.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 10 June  Associate Professor Melissa Davis, WEHI Computational cancer biology and heterogeneity in breast cancer: Moleculat phenotypes and phenotypic plasticity

Associate Professor Melissa Davis is a computational biologist, with a background in genetics and computational cell biology and expertise in the analysis of genome-scale regulatory networks and knowledge-based modelling.

In 2014 she was awarded a four year National Breast Cancer Foundation Career Development Fellowship, taking up a position as Senior Research Fellow in Cancer Systems Biology at the University of Melbourne. In 2016 Melissa relocated her group to the Bioinformatics Division of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research, and in 2019 she was appointed as Associate Professor, and Joint Head of the Bioinformatics Division.          

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 3 June Professor Dave Evans and Dr Daniel Hwang

Journeys in Genetic Epidemiology presented by Prof Dave Evans 

A new method to impute parental genotypes using genetic information from their offspring presented by Dr Daniel Hwang

David Evans is Professor of Statistical Genetics at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. He completed his PhD in Statistical Genetics at the University of Queensland in 2003, before undertaking a four year post-doctoral fellowship at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford. In 2013 he returned to take up his current position at the University of Queensland whilst continuing to lead an MRC Programme in genetic epidemiology at the University of Bristol. His research interests include the genetic mapping of complex traits and diseases and the development of statistical methodologies in genetic epidemiology including approaches for gene mapping, individual risk prediction, causal modelling and dissecting the genetic architecture of complex traits.

In 2018 Daniel Hwang completed a PhD at the University of Queensland and joined the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute as a postdoctoral research fellow. His research has contributed to fundamental scientific advances in understanding how genes influence taste perception, dietary behaviour and related health risks, which have  since been published in top-tier journals, including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the International Journal of Epidemiology. Daniel’s current research focuses on the development and application of statistical genetics methodologies to assess health impacts of diet and nutrition. Recently, he is involved in a global initiative to study the relationship between the loss of smell and taste and COVID-19.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 27 May  Professor Matt Sweet, IMB A wander through the wonders of innate immunity: in search of mechanisms controlling inflammation and host defence Prof Matt Sweet completed his PhD under the supervision of David Hume in 1996 at The University of Queensland, Australia. He then undertook an NHMRC CJ Martin post-doctoral training fellowship at the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) in the laboratory of Eddy Liew. After returning to Australia, he had a number of key roles within the Cooperative Research Centre for Chronic Inflammatory Diseases at The University of Queensland and was appointed to the position of Group Leader at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) in 2007. His laboratory at the IMB focuses on the roles of pattern recognition receptors, their signalling components and their downstream target genes in regulating both infectious and inflammatory disease processes.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Wednesday 20 May Dr Aideen McInerney-Leo Dr Tatiane Yanes

Mainstream Genetic Testing and Tatiane will present Clinical implementation of polygenic testing.

Dr McInerney-Leo is a clinician-academic whose interactions with patients have shaped her research questions and fuelled her enthusiasm for the importance of clinical research. Trained as a genetic counsellor, research now focuses on the integration of genomics into clinical care. Her research program has had three primary themes: evaluating the psychosocial impact of genetic conditions and/or genetic testing; evaluating genetics education preferences for patients and healthcare providers; and using next-generation sequencing to increase diagnostic yield for rare disorders.

9:30am-10:30am

Zoom meeting only. Contact [email protected] for seminar link 

Cancelled
18 March

Professor Matt Sweet, IMB A wander through the wonders of innate immunity: in search of mechanisms controlling inflammation and host defence

  Prof Matt Sweet completed his PhD under the supervision of David Hume in 1996 at The University of Queensland, Australia. He then undertook an NHMRC CJ Martin post-doctoral training fellowship at the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) in the laboratory of Eddy Liew. After returning to Australia, he had a number of key roles within the Cooperative Research Centre for Chronic Inflammatory Diseases at The University of Queensland and was appointed to the position of Group Leader at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) in 2007. His laboratory at the IMB focuses on the roles of pattern recognition receptors, their signalling components and their downstream target genes in regulating both infectious and inflammatory disease processes.

9:30am - 10:30am

Auditorium 

11th March Dr Loredana Spoerri and Phd Student Robert Ju Melanoma phenotypic heterogeneity is regulated by MITF-mediated cell matrix interaction presented by Dr Loredana Spoerri and Uncovering Microtubule-driven Mechanisms of Melanoma Invasion presented by Robert Ju. 

Loredana currently works with Professor Haass to understand the fundamental mechanisms governing melanoma dynamic heterogeneity whereby she applies spatio-temporal confocal imaging in in vitro 3D melanoma models. Her work aims to identify novel avenues to predict and improve melanoma therapy outcomes.

Robert is a joint PhD student in the Stehbens (IMB) and Haass Lab (UQDI) attempting to understand cytoskeletal driven mechanisms of melanoma invasion using novel tools and imaging approaches.

9:30am - 10:30am

Seminar room 2003 

4th March Professor Di Yu Coordinating the fight against pathogens: fundamental immunology and potential translation

Dr. Di Yu was awarded his PhD from the Australian National University (ANU) in 2007. After working in the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Monash University and ANU, he was recruited to the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute in late 2019 and appointed as a Professorial Research Fellow.

He has frequently been published in top-tier journals including Nature, Nature Immunology, Nature Medicine and Immunity. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (2019).

9:30am - 10:30am

Seminar room 2003 

26th February  Katherine Robbins (Medical Student) Contribution of the Notch4-Wnt5a axis to melanoma plasticity and drug resistance

Katie is investigating the crosstalk and regulation between Notch4 and Wnt5a in melanoma phenotype switching in metastasis.

This work has a strong translational component to elucidate the interplay of two important evolutionary conserved pathways for melanoma progression, metastases and drug resistance.

9:30am-10:30am

Seminar Room 2004 

19th February  PhD Students Carrie Coggon and Amy Pham 

Antibody that exacerbates disease in sepsis and lung infection

Carrie Coggon - A novel method of serum resistance in Escherichia coli mediated sepsis

Amy Pham - Outfoxing Pseudomonas and Burkholderia in chronic lung infections

Carrie is a final year PhD student in the T-Wells group. Her research focuses on determining the mechanisms underlying antibodies that inhibit complement-mediated killing of E. coli.  

Amy is a second year PhD student in the T-Wells group. Her research focuses on the bacterial-host interactions in patients with chronic lung disease pre and post lung transplant. Her work has already led directly to treatment of two patients.

9:30am-10:30am

Seminar Room 2003 

12th February  Professor Nick Hayward The genomic landscape of acral  melanoma

Professor Nick Hayward has studied the molecular genetics of melanoma for over 30 years. He was the first to carry out a linkage scan for melanoma susceptibility genes, to confirm the location of one such gene (CDKN2A), and to report mutations of CDKN2A in Australian families. He played key roles in the identification of CDK4, POT1, ACD, TERF2IP and MITF as melanoma susceptibility genes and in linkage and association scans for melanoma, pigmentation and nevi.

9:30am-10:30am

Seminar Room 2003