The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


Research Projects

Project: Can resident memory B cells in the lung protect against COVID19 and other respiratory viruses?

Kent group

A protective role for memory T lymphocytes localised outside of traditional immune sites has been comprehensively established. However, recent studies have shown memory B cells can similarly take up tissue residence, although the immune benefit for doing so remains unclear. SARS-CoV2, Influenza and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cause acute respiratory infections associated with significant morbidity, and effective vaccines are currently lacking. This project will assess if immunisation to establish antiviral memory B cells in the lung can combat respiratory infectiona. It will involve: engineering novel influenza-based viral vectors to deliver  vaccine antigens, testing in animal models and characterising B cell immunity using a variety of advanced microscopy and flow cytometry-based techniques.

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Project Supervisor

Professor Stephen Kent

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Hyon-Xhi Tan

Project availability

Kent group

7 vacancies

Cross Cutting Disciplines

Research Projects 2019 | 25 The Kent group has an interest in understanding how the immune response can be harnessed in the control of infectious pathogens including HIV, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and influenza. This includes understanding non-conventional T cells and how they are impacted by HIV infection despite the fact that they are not target cells for HIV replication. We use animal models to investigate ways to manipulate these cells and to understand how they are regulated during viral infection. We also examine how antibodies can instruct the innate immune system to attack invading pathogens through their Fc regions. Our research aims to understand the mechanisms behind these antibodies in order to guide the development of more effective antibody therapeutics and vaccines.