The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Defining the role of secreted mucins in seasonal human coronavirus infection

Subbarao Group

Human coronaviruses 229E (HCoV-229E) and NL63 (HCoV-NL63) are endemic worldwide and cause mild upper respiratory infections but can cause severe disease, particularly in vulnerable populations. Airway mucus serves as the initial defense against foreign particles and pathogens in the respiratory tract. The secreted mucins MUC5AC and MUC5B are the primary structural components of airway mucus and are crucial for mucociliary clearance. While the protective role of mucins in respiratory diseases is well known, our understanding of how secreted mucins impact coronavirus infections remains limited. Using human airway epithelial cells, this project will establish the influence of MUC5AC and MUC5B on HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 infection and compared with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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Project Supervisor

Professor Kanta Subbarao

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Matthew Gartner

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Subbarao Group

4 vacancies

Viral Infectious Diseases
Bacterial and Parasitic Infections
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Public Health
Clinical and health systems research

Research in the Subbarao laboratory focuses on respiratory viral diseases of global importance including pandemic and seasonal influenza and coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and human coronaviruses. We study virus biology and pathogenesis, airborne spread of respiratory viruses, immune responses to infection and vaccination, and antiviral drugs. We use state of the art techniques in virology, molecular biology and immunology, including reverse genetics, infection of stem cell derived tissues and studies in animal models. 

Subbarao Group Current Projects