The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: How do influenza virus infectious dose and replication kinetics impact on the titre and breadth of influenza-reactive antibodies?

WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza

A key function of the WHOCCRRI is to antigenically characterize influenza viruses from patient samples collected across our region to determine whether they can escape immunity induced by current vaccine, and, if so, select new candidate vaccine strains. Antisera are raised against vaccine strains and selected circulating strains by infecting ferrets, and used to identify new strains that are poorly recognized by vaccine antisera. Although ferret antiserum is vital for the antigenic characterization of influenza viruses, the factors that may influence the titre and breadth of antibodies made by ferrets remain poorly defined. Therefore, the aim of this project is to determine how the infectious dose of influenza virus given to ferrets and subsequent virus replication kinetics affect the titre and strain-coverage (breadth) of antibodies induced. Information gained from this project will be vital to optimizing the antigenic characterization of influenza viruses required for vaccine strain selection.  This project offers to the opportunity to learn a broad range of techniques in virology and serology and immunology and to contribute to an important area of translational research.  

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Annette Fox

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Edin Musfid

Project availability

WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza

2 vacancies

Viral Infectious Diseases
Cross Cutting Disciplines
Discovery Research
Translational and Clinical Research

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (WHOCCRI) is a world-class influenza virus surveillance laboratory. A key goal of our work is to identify strategies to improve the immunogenicity and, therefore, effectiveness of influenza vaccines.  It can be challenging to induce immunity against rapidly evolving viruses such as influenza. This is in part due to virus escape from immune recognition, but may also be due to a propensity for vaccines to induce more antibodies against past than current strains.