The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Harnessing the power of RNA vaccines and therapeutics

Villadangos Group

As the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines has demonstrated, RNA technology promises to revolutionise medicine. It is now possible to produce cheap and safe nanoparticles containing RNA to elicit protective immune memory against pathogens. These vaccines work because the RNA is used by the cells of the vaccinated individual to synthesize proteins that resemble components of the pathogen, triggering an immune response that protects against infection. RNA nanoparticles encoding can also be used for therapeutic applications. Here, the RNA drives the expression of immunoregulatory proteins, for example cytokines or anti-viral factors. Immunotherapeutic RNA may be useful to treat cancer, immunosuppression and autoimmunity. This project will examine how the cells of the immune system interact with, capture and use the RNA nanoparticles. This will allow us to design better RNA vaccines and effective RNA immunotherapies.



Prof Jose Villadangos

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Prof Jose Villadangos

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Villadangos Group

6 vacancies

Viral Infectious Diseases
Antimicrobial Resistance
Bacterial and Parasitic Infections
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Clinical and health systems research

The Villadangos group studies the first event that triggers adaptive immune responses: the presentation of pathogen or tumour antigens to T cells by Dendritic Cells, B cells and Macrophages. We are characterizing the development, regulation and impairment of antigen presenting cells by pathogens, inflammatory mediators and tumours. We are also dissecting the biochemical machinery involved in antigen capture, processing, and presentation. We use this knowledge to understand how T cell-dependent immunity is initiated and maintained and apply it to design better vaccines and immunotherapies against infectious agents and cancer.


All our projects are open to Honours/Master of Biomedical Science students and PhD/MPhil graduate researchers

Villadangos Group Current Projects