Mr Michael Nissen

BBiomedSc (Hons)

PhD Student


Psychological Stress and Immune Response to Lymphoma

There is a vast body of mostly anecdotal evidence that chronic psychological stress can compromise the immune system. My project aims to explore this phenomenon in a controlled manner. I will be investigating the two major arms of psychological stress; the sympathetic nervous system, and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, and the effects that activation of each of these systems has on the immune system.

The disease model I will be using is a B cell lymphoma, and I will be investigating whether or not psychological stress can cause the immune response to this cancer to break down and cause more severe disease, and possibly compromise the response to an immune-based therapy. I will also be attempting to block or suppress these stress responses in the hopes of improving the efficacy of anti-cancer treatments.

Considering how psycholgically stressful of a disease cancer can be for a patient, I believe this work will provide a fruitful insight into ways we can improve the wellbeing of cancer patients, both medically and psychologically.

This project is being carried out in collaboration with researchers from the Monash University's Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Psychological Stress and Immunity to Lymphoma

Research fields

Cancer Immunology