The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

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


Research Projects

Project: Identifying novel subsets of immune cells that control cytomegalovirus following transplantation

Brooks Group

Transplantation is a life-saving procedure for people with end-stage organ failure or malignant blood cancers. However, post-transplant immunosuppressive medications required to prevent rejection result in impaired ability to control infections. In particular, the control of cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the most significant hurdles to successful transplantation. Anti-viral pre-emptive therapies are routinely used, often for an uncertain duration and frequently causing bone marrow or renal toxicity. CMV-immune monitoring assays can optimise the duration of anti-viral prophylaxis by giving an indication of when the individual patient has sufficient CMV-immunity to prevent disease. However, our preliminary data indicates that several important immune cell populations are overlooked in CMV immune monitoring assays. We now wish to investigate the role of these immune cells in controlling CMV following transplantation. We anticipate our research can lead to improved diagnostic tests that provide a more accurate and comprehensive assessment of CMV immunity. Moreover, we may be able to harness novel immune cells for focused therapies with a view to reducing CMV and prolonging survival following transplantation.

Contact project supervisor for further
information and application enquiries

Project Supervisor

Dr Lucy Sullivan

Project Co-supervisor

Dr Michelle Yong, Dr Sanda Stankovic

Project availability
Master of Biomedical Science

Brooks Group

[email protected]

2 vacancies

Host Pathogens Interactions
Viral Infectious Diseases
Cross Cutting Disciplines

The Brooks lab has a broad array of interests, largely centered on the role of immunoreceptors in the regulation of lymphocyte activation. In particular, we are interested in how natural killer cell receptors regulate NK cell and T cell activation and how genetic variation in these receptors along with their HLA-encoded ligands impacts on clinical outcomes in the settings of infection and transplantation.

Brooks Group Current Projects